All Hail The Wet Bag

All Hail The Wet Bag

All hail the Wet Bag.

Funny how our interests shift, isn’t it? Before becoming parents, where to eat, a great new app or even a fabulous pair of jeans that sucked in my stomach so I didn’t have to were all the rage in my life.

Now, it’s The Wet Bag.

I capitalize The Wet Bag because it is that important in my life and the lives of all parents with babies/toddlers. Even my neighbour who is nearing the end of potty training uses it daily and it with more adoration than she has for her husband (at times).

Wet bags are fairly common-place in the worlds of us who use cotton or cloth diapers, but that doesn’t make them any less brilliant for families who use disposables.

These reusable waterproof bags that contain dirty diapers until they’re washed have saved many a diaper bag – and hamper.

But they also:

  • Keep items sorted: I don’t like bibs and poop together. I keep bibs and clothes in one bag and diapers or poopy clothing in another. Particularly handy during toilet training.
  • Hold wet changes of clothes – With one for each child, a wet bag can go to school with a clean change of clothes inside and come back with the soiled or wet items. Tossed into the washer inside out along with the dirty items they are a handy way to make sure your kid’s clothes don’t come back in a flimsy plastic bag that can tear by the time you get to it. Gross.  Before turning to the wet bag for this, I was using large ziplock bags which meant a lot of unnecessary expense and waste.
  • Oops bag – Three kids and road trips means there are harmless accidents of all kinds: spills, messes, rushes to the public bathroom that don’t quite make it in time. Whether you have one child or ten, having an odour proof, water proof bag that you can toss in the wash is a handy thing to have.

My Wet Bags gets a lot of use with everything from bibs for our youngest who has Rett Syndrome to just worn “ripe” soccer socks, and anything else that needs to be contained.

If you’re someone who hasn’t ever used one, you’ll want to know that they come in various sizes and with different closures: zipper, velcro, sliding toggles.  You might develop a preference for one in particular. Many great companies make versions of this fabulous item, I like the zippered bag by Monkey Doodlez because it’s straight forward and just the right size, big enough for several pieces without being huge and lumpy in my bag. Here is a smattering of bags that might catch your fancy. Here is a link to various wet bag options on amazon.ca.

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Master The Family Trip

Master The Family Trip

You’ve mastered the day trip with your baby and you’re feeling confident enough to try a longer trip. Figuring out what to pack can be a little daunting–especially if you’re using cloth diapers. However, with a bit of planning and a few good tools, you’ll be able to master traveling with your baby in no time.

Short Trips and Cloth Diapers

There’s nothing worse than discovering you’re all out of diapers right as the airline announces a two-hour delay. Consider bringing an extra day’s worth of diapers to accommodate any disruptions. Containing soiled diapers and their odor is a priority so a wet bag is a must. Large wet bags can typically hold about one day’s worth of diapers so make sure you have plenty of room. If you’ll be gone for several days, a pail liner might work better for long-term storage and a couple wet bags will get you through the times you’ll be out and about.

Extended Stays: A Different Game Plan

Trips longer than one week require a different strategy. Aside from the gross idea of carrying around weeks-old soiled diapers, cloth diapers can become ruined after more than a week unwashed. One idea is to check with your diapering service to see if they have a pickup and delivery option in the area where you will be staying. If that isn’t possible, choose an eco-friendly disposable diaper instead. (Tip: order your disposable diapers online and have them shipped to your destination to save on luggage space and fees!)

Everything Else

We all know that keeping poop contained is a priority while traveling. Now that we’ve got that covered, it’s time to start thinking about everything else. Pack at least two sets of clothing for each day, and all the usual toiletries you use including diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer, baby wash, and wipes. Be sure to pack feeding essentials including bottles, brushes, soap, and clean water (here’s where breastfeeding really comes in handy!). Along with these common items, consider:

  • Small flashlight. Make late night changes and feedings easier, or read for a bit without disturbing baby.
  • First-Aid Kit. Pain relievers and adhesive bandages are a must; toss in some sunscreen and baby-safe insect repellent just in case.
  • Snacks. Traveling with a baby sometimes means crazy schedules and you need to make sure you are nourished.
  • New Toys. A new toy will often keep baby entertained better than something she’s used to seeing.

Start Early

If there’s anything that babies are good at it is disrupting schedules. Don’t wait until the last minute to start packing or you can be sure your baby will choose exactly that time to demand your full attention. Lastly, remember to be flexible. Sticking to a rigid schedule will only stress you and baby so only worry about being late when it matters most. Happy traveling!

The Not So Degradeable Biodegradeable Diaper

The Not So Degradeable Biodegradeable Diaper

While convenient, disposable diapers can take as long as 500 years to decompose and are the leading contributors of untreated human wastes in landfills. If this fact makes you turn up your nose and stirs your conscience, you might be seeking an environmentally friendly way to keep baby dry and clean. If you’re most familiar with disposables, you might think about finding a biodegradable disposable diaper before you think about reusable diapers. So let’s get to it, are biodegradable diapers truly that? Are they better for babies skin and the environment? And where really does crap go?

The Benefits of Biodegradable Diapers

While mom-tested and mother earth-approved cloth diapers are the truly eco-friendly option, those looking for a diaper that marries a positive environmental impact with disposable convenience will look seriously at biodegradable diapers. They consist of recycled pulp that is believed to decompose eventually and if this is the case, it could mean less eventual waste in our cities’ landfill. Win!

The majority of biodegradable diapers are free of most chemical additives that can irritate  your baby’s skin. Plus, several companies make flushable biodegradable diapers from sustainable materials and feature them in eco-friendly packages. Personally, having plunged many a toilet with three kids who are generous with their toilet paper wadding, I don’t think I could ever throw a flushable diaper – or diaper liner – into that little pipe. Still, no or less chemicals and environmentally friendly materials are a huge advantage over regular disposables.

And there is also the lighter diaper bag on the trip home. Though you leave the house with a stash of diaper’s you’re returning with fewer because they’ve been tossed. Used and forgotten, there is nothing to do when you get home that has to do with diapering.

All good things on the face of it, let’s look a little deeper as you consider how you want to diaper.

The Potential Drawbacks of Biodegradable Disposable

Less time to decompose than regular disposables can still mean hundreds of years. And that doesn’t address the impact of biological waste dumped unfiltered into landfill seeping into land and water.  Biodegradable disposables are a huge step forward in considering your baby’s skin and the planet they’re going to grow up in.

Higher Costs: Prepare to pay extra for the convenience these diapers. They cost more than regular disposables, and considerably more than cotton or cloth diapers which actually save you hundreds of dollars annually. In fact, diaper services cost even less when costs like hydro, electricity, cleansers, and your time are factored in.

Lack of Eco-Friendly Evidence: In theory, biodegradable diapers decompose faster than disposables. However, none of them have been in the ground long enough for anyone to know just how much faster nor how completely. In fact, for optimal decomposition, many companies recommend disposal processing requiring shredding the plastic film of the diapers and then composting or using a wormery. That’s certainly eco-friendly, but hardly convenient (or possible) for regular families.

Consider Baby’s Comfort: Keeping baby happy and cozy is most important, of course. While diapers that promise maximum absorption for longer leak-free wear, leaving your newborn or young child in a wet or soiled diaper long has two consequences.

  • Skin Health – Even minimal gels and chemicals can irritate baby’s skin. Even absorbed urine produces bacteria and a dry baby may sit in their spoil longer before alerting you.
  • A Lost Bonding Moment – Less frequent changes can mean lost opportunities for bonding rituals and behaviours that accompany diaper changes.

The ‘Bottom’ Line on Biodegradable Diapers

Definitely a go-to if there isn’t a cloth diaper laundry service in your area or you are away for longer than a week because they potentially reduce the impact on the environment compared to other use and toss diapers.  They’re more costly, though, and still not fully recyclable or decomposable.  Which means many families will forgo this option because it’s already so very costly to have kiddo’s.

That being said, it’s absolutely a step in a better direction than disposable diapers. If you’re someone who uses or sells biodegradable diapers, we’d love for you to tell us which ones you like and trust so that other green-minded families can take a look.  We’re happy to update this post with links to quality biodegradable diapers for families who need them.

 

If you happen to live in the Greater Toronto Area, have a read about Toronto’s Green Bin Policy and Disposable Diapers.

 

 

Diaper Cover Round-Up

Diaper Cover Round-Up

Diaper covers are an essential item needed for cloth diapering. Diaper covers go over the cotton diaper itself to keep your baby’s clothing, your furniture, and even your lap dry when baby wets or soils the diaper. Today’s diaper covers are stylish, practical, and easy. Choose diaper covers that fit your baby’s body type for the best results.

You have several options of diaper cover styles. You can check out different styles in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area at Babyrama, Diaper Eez, or DearBorn Baby. Also, if you prefer online shopping you can check out the offerings at Lagoon Baby.

Wrap-Style Diaper Covers

Wrap-style diaper covers, like Thirsties Duo Wrap, have wings that wrap from the back of the diaper to the front. The wings fasten with Velcro or snaps in the front of the diaper. This style of diaper cover eliminates the need for any type of fastener of the diaper underneath. Pre-fold or flat diapers are simply tucked into the wrap diaper cover. This style is one of the easiest types of cloth diaper covers to use. They often have elastic on the legs and back to provide a better fit for the diaper cover and to prevent leaks. This style of diaper cover probably will provide the best fit, and you don’t have to worry with fasteners, something that makes them very popular with Aunties and baby sitters.

Pocket Diaper Covers

Pocket diaper covers, like Apple Cheeks or Funky Fluff LUX, have an inner pocket which is stuffed with a pre-fold diaper or a custom-designed absorbent layer. The absorbent layer inside the pocket wicks moisture away from the baby’s skin to the inner layer. These diapers are probably the cotton diaper that’s most like disposable diapers. Child care workers and sitters may prefer them because of their ease of use, especially if parents send them already assembled and ready to go. The disadvantage, though, is that pocket diapers have to be stuffed before use, and after they are soiled you do have to take the layers apart for washing, a task that is not particularly pleasant.

Side Snap Diaper Covers

Side snap covers are much like wraps, except that they fasten on the sides rather than on the front. Because there is less fabric overlap at the sides, it can be difficult to get a good, snug fit with side snap covers. However, these sometimes allow for better airflow under the diaper, so babies with particularly sensitive skin may need a cover like the Motherease Air Flow. Side snap covers do require that the diaper underneath is secured by a fastener.

Pull-On Diaper Covers

Pull-on diaper covers fit over the diaper like a snug pair of undies. They have an elastic waist and leg bands to keep messes and wetness contained, and they are quick and easy to put on the baby. The diapers must be fastened before you put the cover on. Usually, pull-on diaper covers are made from wool, fleece, vinyl, or waterproof nylon. One advantage of vinyl or nylon pull-on diaper covers is that they are most inexpensive style of diaper cover. A disadvantage of pull-on covers is that particularly runny poops may not be completely contained. Another problem with them is that a messy cover has to be pulled down the baby’s legs, making a small mess much bigger. Also, they’re not adjustable, so getting a good snug fit, something that’s important for containing messes, may be difficult. Sustainablebabyish and Woolybottoms both make wool diaper covers, and Bummis makes a pull on pant with a colorful fabric exterior and a PUL interior.

Different brands, sizes, and styles of diaper covers fit differently, so if you have a friend who uses cotton diapers, ask if you can check out their stash. Also, it’s wise to look at several brands, sizes, and styles before you make your final choice as to what kind will suit you and your baby best. At Comfy Cotton’s office you can look at various sizes and styles of diaper covers before you make your final selection. If you’re considering cloth diapers, you may want to think about using a diaper service and get out of some laundry-duty.

Cloth Diapering On The Go

Cloth Diapering On The Go

One big question that newcomers to cotton diapering have is “How do I handle diapers when I am not at home?”

The biggest difference between changing at home and while out is getting the soiled diaper from the public restroom to your house. And yes, at first it may seem strange to carry a dirty or wet diaper around in your diaper bag rather than tossing it in the closest trash can, the wet bag is effectively your portable trash can (without the waste).

After you’ve done it the first time and realize that the wet bag really does trap the odour and wetness inside, you’ll find that it’s no big deal and actually take pride in the fact that your baby’s diapers aren’t filling the local landfill with waste.

Speaking for ourselves, we’re grateful to moms and dads who chose to actively keep diapers out of the garbage and our environment; so with that in mind, here are a few tips that make cotton diapering while out and about simple:

  • Cotton diapers need to be changed more frequently than disposables, so you will want to pack plenty of diapers in the bag.

 

  • Some cotton diapering moms give in and use disposable wet wipes for diaper changes while on the go. That’s okay. However, if you don’t want to do this, pack several small baby washcloths and a bottle of water to dampen the washcloth while you’re out. Just roll the washcloths into the soiled diaper and take care of them when you get home.

 

  • After changing the baby, don’t worry about swishing the cotton diaper in the toilet. Honestly, it will be way nastier to do that in a public restroom than to simply fold or roll the soiled diaper into the wet bag and swish at home. If you’re a Comfy Cotton Client, simply drop the soiled diaper into your lined pail at home, waste and all, and you’re done!

 

  • When you arrive at home, immediately empty the wet bag, treating the diapers the way that you normally do. Don’t procrastinate this chore because it won’t get better with time!

 

  • Have several wet bags. This will ensure that one is always clean when you need it. Also, don’t skimp on wet bag quality. Do you really want to carry a cloud of stinky diaper odour everywhere you go while you’re out?

 

  • If you tend to keep a bag packed, be sure that you keep abreast of the sizes of the diaper covers stored in it. You don’t want to get out in public and realize that the only diaper cover in the bag is way too small for your baby.

Although on the surface, it may seem easier to use disposables when going out, it’s really not that big of a deal to change cotton diapers when shopping or running errands. In fact, it’s not any more complicated to use cotton diapers than disposables wherever you happen to be.

Environmental Impact of Disposable Diapers

Environmental Impact of Disposable Diapers

When trying to find the intersection between giving our babies what’s best and taking care of the earth, cloth diapers are a natural solution. If you’re not convinced that it is worth it, we’ve compiled some information to help you better understand what disposables are doing to our environment.

Disposing of Disposables

To begin our conversation on environmental impact, let’s start with a few facts about disposable diapers as reported by CBC News:

  • Disposable diapers account for 96 percent of diaper sales in North America.
  • 4 million disposable diapers are sent to Canadian landfills every day.
  • It takes between 250 and 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose.

Brand new unused disposable diaper.

There is some disagreement on the decomposition time, however, all studies agree on this point: all disposable diapers make their way to a landfill and stay there. If your parents used disposable diapers, your old diapers are still laying around underground somewhere and will probably still be there for some future generation to uncover during an archeological dig. Lovely.

Soiled disposable diaper 3 yrs landfill, still wholly intact.

Beyond the Landfill

There’s more to the story than just ancient diapers in a landfill. Consider that the contents of a cloth diaper are treated as sewage (as it should be!) while disposable diapers send this nasty waste to the landfill. Think about that for a second: we flush our own poop to have it professionally treated before being unleashed on the environment but have no problem sending our baby’s poop enclosed in a diaper to a trash heap.

Bear with us as we ask you to think about poop for one more minute. Most landfills are engineered to keep waste from leaching out into the environment or into the water system. However, they are not fail-proof and there’s no accounting for the potential of spreading disease by small animals, insects, and other critters who have access to what’s on top.

That archeological dig is getting grosser by the minute.

No Chemical Romance

Disposable diapers are made from an assortment of natural products and a shocking cocktail of chemicals. First, there is TBT, a substance that does not degrade in the environment and is listed by the US EPA as extremely harmful to aquatic life. Then there is the byproduct of the bleaching process called dioxins which are recognized by the World Health Organization and the US EPA as being one of the most toxic. Let’s not forget about all the dyes used to make disposables pretty and the fragrances used to make them less stinky. It’s an awful lot to let loose on the earth just for a contraption to catch poop.

Is it All Safe?

Most experts will say that all those plastics, poop, and chemicals are safe, especially in the quantity found in a single diaper. The minuscule amount of TBT found in one diaper won’t kill a fish–but what about the accumulation from billions upon billions of diapers that will sit for hundreds of years? What about all that antique poop? 

We say: skip the whole mess entirely by choosing cotton diapers that are all natural, and can be washed and reused over and over again. If you don’t like the idea of dealing with poop at home, try a cloth diapering service that will pick up your dirty diapers and deliver fresh ones. It’s as simple as disposables without the harm to the environment.

Want to learn more? Contact Comfy Cotton Diaper Service. We do it all–including saving you from late-night runs to the store for more diapers!

Over 28 Years Serving Toronto’s Cloth Diaper needs

Over 28 Years Serving Toronto’s Cloth Diaper needs

A thriving business going on 28 years is an accomplishment.

We are proud to have served and continue serving parents in the Greater Toronto Area. Saving the planet one cloth diaper at a time. Have a look at the following infographic filled with interesting data accumulated over the past 28 years.

Diapers in Toronto Green Bins

Diapers in Toronto Green Bins

The city of Toronto allows diapers in the green bin. So does York region and Vaughan.

Great news, right?! Not exactly. The fact that these cities and regions accept diapers in green bins does not mean that disposable diapers are now magically biodegradable, sadly, they are not.

In fact, the large amounts of plastic, pulp, and chemicals that make up each disposable diaper do not compost. They remain in our landfills, leaching toxins and waste into the soil, well, pretty much forever (300-500 years is the estimate).

Toronto, Vaughan, York and other regions accept diapers in green bins out of convenience to parents because green bins are emptied weekly whereas garbage and regular recycling is picked up every other week.  Great news for our noses, but no change in the impact disposables have on our soil, water, and environment. Diaper liners made of biodegradable material may be separated out but the diaper itself is then sent to landfills. The trip to the green bin depot is simply an extra trip. Basically a waste of truck space, gas and human resources within the GTA.

We think cities need to make it clear to well-meaning parents who place disposable diapers in green bins that diapers, despite being collected in the green bins, do NOT end up being composted. They are simply transferred to landfills.  So what do you do when you want to make a true impact on reducing the environmental footprint of diapering?

There are three proven options:

  1. Use a diaper service to deliver, pickup and wash diapers so you have nothing to do except change your baby.
  2. Buy or make re-useable diapers and wash them at home (if you’re washing at home, this is a very helpful article on how to get a better clean at home).
  3. Use eco-friendly disposables (they may cost more and use some level of toxins or gels but far less so than regular disposable diapers).

Does your city allow disposables in the green bin? We’d love to know how cities help families who diaper be as ecological as they can and want to be.

Happy diapering!

Flat or Fitted Cloth diaper. Which is best?

Flat or Fitted Cloth diaper. Which is best?

Just as there are options in disposables, there are options in reusable cloth diapers.

We use Flat diapers instead of fitted diapers. Why? (less bacteria)
Good question. After all, fitted diapers look more like disposables and are therefore more familiar. Plus they are touted as more “modern diapers”. 

The most important reason we opted for Flat diapers is that there is no diaper that gets as clean as a flat diaper. Fitted diapers trap waste and bacteria in ways that flat diapers cannot. In addition, flat diapers can be folded in different ways that suit where babies need the most protection. Therefore, providing more absorbency than other options.

Environmentally Friendlier
Another important but less noticeable reason for choosing Flat diapers is the fact that it takes less energy to wash flat diapers than it does to wash fitted diapers. Less water and less electricity means our entire process is more environmentally friendly than if fitted diapers were being washed. 

Will I need to pin or secure the cloth diaper to a diaper cover?
Ah, as in the “olden days” of pins, right? Nope!  Diaper covers are made to hold flat diapers in place. Instead of having multiple clips and Velcros from fitted diapers and diaper covers, Flat diapers sit flush within the cover; full coverage without the bulk.

Oh, and Flat diapers take up far less room in wet bags, which means flat’s are more portable for days out exploring with your baby.

We have put a lot of thought into the selection of Flat versus Fitted. Surveyed parents and tested several options over the 30 years we have serviced the community. Our recommendation is that Flat is a superior choice.