Beyond the Forums
Many of our forum members have been cloth diapering for years and and their knowledge is invaluable to the cloth diapering community. This week, join Bree as she interviews long time Diaper Pin forum member Erin.
Erin is a stay-at-home mama making her home on a farm with her husband Jason, son, Abram, age 3, daughter, Adrie, age 1, along with chickens, turkeys, a spoiled housecat, a Springer Spaniel and a few tractors. She started cloth diapering when her son was born to save a few dollars and ended up loving it, and made more than a few amazing friends along the way thanks to the Diaper Pin forums.
When did you first decide that you wanted to cloth diaper?
My mom cloth diapered but other than that I didn’t even realize cloth diapering was an option. I saw a commercial on t.v. for a diapering service and thought “Do people really do that?!”. I was intrigued. I looked at their website and found links to local cloth diapering shops and saw the wide array of cloth options available. I was hooked! That was right before we started trying to have our first baby, so by the time my son was born I had read everything there was to read about cloth diapering and was so excited to start.
Did you have any experience with cloth, or know anyone who had cloth diapered their babies?
I remember my mom cloth diapering my little brother and the big wet pail of bleach water, pins and plastic pants. Of course, that was almost 30 years ago! I didn’t know anyone who cloth diapered when I started to look into it.
What have been your biggest challenges using cloth and how have you overcome them?
I love cloth diapers but I have had to figure out what works for my kids. My son has extremely sensitive skin. He started out in prefolds and we didn’t really have any issues until I started branching out and trying new things. I realized before too long that bamboo and man-made fibers such as fleece did not work for him. I don’t think it’s the fibers themselves but the fact that they are more difficult to get clean than cotton. Also, we had some stink issues and had to play the detergent guessing game. Once I went back to plain cotton diapers and figured out my wash routine it was much easier.
Do your children have sensitive skin?
My son is sensitive to detergents, even now that he is in underwear I can’t use Tide on his things or he will break out in a rash. Certain foods would give him a rash. Teething gave him terrible rashes. Some fabrics give him a rash, and serged edges. We have played the rash guessing game many times! My daughter is slightly sensitive but thankfully not as bad as my son was. Her biggest problem is that she poops so much, but that would cause a rash in a disposable, too!
What would be one thing you’d recommend to parents wanting to cloth diaper who have hard, mineral-y, well water?
You might be fighting a losing battle trying to use diapers that are harder to get clean like AIO’s or thick fitteds. Keep it simple and stick to cotton prefolds, flats, or simple cotton fitteds like the Green Mountain Diaper Workhorse or Mother-Ease Sandy’s. You can always pad-fold a flat or prefold into a cover or into a pocket and it’s just as easy as some of the expensive AI2 systems for a fraction of the cost.
Also, this is two things, but don’t be afraid to try regular laundry detergent! Sometimes the natural detergents just don’t clean well enough if you have hard water. I am using Dreft right now along with borax and it has been working great. I’ve also had success in the past with Arm & Hammer.
What’s your favorite diaper and how many diapers are in your stash?
GMD Organic cotton flats are my all-time favorite. They are so trim, versatile, and beyond frugal. When they wear out they make great cleaning rags! I have a small stash, but it works for us. I don’t like to go a long time between washings. I have one dozen Diaper Rite prefolds, one dozen Large GMD flats, and several kinds of PUL covers. That’s it!
Other than using cloth diapers, what are some other ways in which you try to live frugally?
The main thing that has worked for us is to make a budget. Someone on the Diaper Pin forums introduced me to the YNAB (You Need A Budget) software and it has helped tremendously! We attempt to live frugally by doing a lot of things for ourselves such as growing our own food, canning food, making most food from scratch, sewing, car repairs, etc. However, we have to be careful because some of these frugal things can cost a LOT of money! I love to buy cooking gadgets and go overboard on gardening so I try to wait before purchasing and sometimes I find I can make do without something.
I hear you have some chickens and have added turkeys to the property this year – have you always wanted to raise poultry?
My Grandma had several hundred egg-layers when I was growing up and so we always had fresh eggs. I grew up on a farm and several times we had chickens for eggs and meat. I love to eat well, and I also love animals so it was natural to me to raise animals as our food source. It is a hobby I love to share with my kids and I feel good knowing our food is raised humanely and healthfully. To me it’s heavenly to go to the barn and get eggs to make for breakfast or to make fresh homemade mayonnaise. Turkeys are a new adventure for us this year and they have been a learning experience for sure!
Do you have plans to add any other animals in the future?
Eventually we would love to get to the point where we raise all of our own meat, so we would like to add pigs and cows as well. I am not comfortable eating meat that is raised on factory farms, although we do to some extent now for cost reasons. Raising more livestock is something I’m looking forward to as our children get older and can help more with chores. It teaches them so much about responsibility and empathy to have the care of another life in your hands.
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