Thursday, May 26, 2011

Referral Contest!

Hello Everyone! 
I'm happy to announce another exciting giveaway event Chic Cheeks is doing now through Saturday. This is going to be a referral contest on Facebook.

To participate you *MUST* first write in a comment below that you agree to the following terms:

You acknowledge that this promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Facebook. 
You release Facebook of any responsibility or liability regarding this giveaway.
You understand that Chic Cheeks cannot require you or your friends to "like" our Facebook page according to the promotional guidelines set by Facebook. Therefor, if you would prefer to refer your friends to this blog to post a comment stating you sent them instead of referring them to our Facebook page, you may. 
Your friends may only comment on Facebook, OR in the comment section of this blog. Double entries will not be counted.

*Persons who have not commented below that they agree will be disqualified from the contest*

Just post "I agree" in the comment section below to continue.

***UPDATE MAY 28, 2011***

A contestant has questioned the validity of certain profiles created on Facebook. Therefor I must add to the terms that Chic Cheeks reserves to right to disregard any profiles we have deemed "fake" created for the purpose of boosting contestants referral numbers. Any contestant caught cheating will be disqualified from the contest. Also, REAL NAMES must be used on blog comments. Anonymous comments WILL NOT be counted.This contest has been created to help spread the word about Chic Cheeks' business and raise awareness of cloth diapers to a community that otherwise may not be informed of them. Please respect the rules and keep this fun for everyone! We are truly grateful for all the support each of the contestants has given to Chic Cheeks and would like to thank you for all your work in referring people to our business. 
Chic Cheeks reserves the right to change these terms at any time for any reason. 

Each contestant must re-agree to these terms in a comment below before 4pm PDT today in order to qualify to win. 


Please ask all your friends to "like" Chic Cheeks on Facebook and post that they were sent by you OR you may refer them to this blog to comment that you sent them. Remember, it's only one or the other. Double entries will not be counted.

The contest will end at 4pm PDT on Saturday May 28, 2011.
At that time all referrals will be tallied up and the winner will be announced.
The prizes will be mailed on Monday May 30, 2011.

This is meant to be fun so I hope you all have a good time referring! Please contact me if you have any questions regarding this contest:

Good Luck! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Laundry. Ugh.

Laundry. The bane of my existence...or is it? I can only remember one other time I ever enjoyed doing laundry in my life, aside from when I started cloth diapering, and that was when I was pregnant and I washed the boys laundry before they were born. Folding and hanging all their little jammies and outfits would bring tears to my eyes. Of course once they started needing 17 outfit changes a day and their cute little newborn clothes turned into mud-covered 3T jeans I loved it just a little less! Yesterday I did a load of pants in my washer. It had been 2.5 days since I did the last load and I swear there were no less than 15 pairs of pants for one family of 4. Is there some kind of laundry gnome that enjoys torturing me with hundreds of pounds of dirty clothing I have to sort, wash, dry and fold? If I ever get my hands on that little guy I swear I'll...
That brings me to my cloth diaper laundry. This is something that can be extremely intimidating to the non-clothdiaperer. It's just another one of the unknowns that can easily scare a person off. So today I'm going to show you my laundry routine for my diapers so you can see how simple it really is.
Let me start off by saying that I really do love doing my diaper laundry. I probably sound freakish but I look forward to Reagan using enough diapers so I can get a load together to wash. I get excited about dirty diapers (weird, right?).  I usually do a load a day, although I could easily go two days without washing. One important thing to understand about washing cloth diapers is that everyone has their own way of doing it. What works for me may not work for you and getting diapers clean takes a little experimenting to get it just right.
I keep my routine very basic and simple. When there is a wet diaper I pull the insert out of the pocket and toss both pieces into my laundry bag. When I have a poo diaper I dump the solids into the toilet, use the toilet sprayer if there's anything stuck on, pull out the insert and toss both pieces into the laundry bag. The main point here is that I don't toss whole diapers into the laundry bag without taking them apart. Digging through a bag of dirty diapers after they've been sitting for 24 hours trying to take them apart is gross. It takes 3 seconds to deal with at the time and things stay relatively clean.

Here's my system once I'm ready to wash:

I deliver my laundry bag to the laundry room (I normally keep it in the bathroom with the toilet sprayer), unzip the bottom and toss the whole thing into the washer.

I then run a "rinse and spin" cycle on my washer. It takes approx. 18 minutes. This will rinse out any leftover solids.

Once that cycle is complete I add my detergent. I use 1 heaping Tablespoon of Rockin' Green Classic Rock and nothing else (Do not use fabric softener. Do not use bleach.).

I have an HE front loading washer so I set my dial to the whites cycle with an extra rinse and let it roll.

Once everything is clean I prefer to hang them out to dry on my clothesline. My dogs enjoy this as well...

A little sun to bleach out any stains...

If you don't want to use a clothesline you don't have to. The inserts are fine to tumble dry in your clothes dryer on low, but I highly recommend not putting the outer part of the diaper in the dryer. Before I had my clothes line I would lay mine out on my stair banister overnight to dry.

Please note that the following may be over the top for some of you but I'm a very organized person so this is how I like to do my stuffin':
I use many different brands of diapers that all have their own inserts so I typically will sort them all out and then arrange my diapers so all I have to do is grab an insert and stuff it. I hate sorting through a laundry basket to find all the right parts that go together.

It took me a total of 4 minutes 10 seconds (I didn't rush, don't worry!) to stuff the inserts in and snap them closed (optional!) 

It may seem like a lot of work to some of you, but for me it's much easier than running out of diapers at 3  am, and I find it enjoyable and relaxing. There's something inside me that feels happy when I look out my window and see cloth diapers hanging on my clothesline. 

As I said before everyone has their own way of doing laundry so feel free to use this as an example or change it up however you feel is best for you. Different types of washing machines will require you to alter this slightly as well. If you already cloth diaper, how does your routine differ from mine? I'd love to hear your story! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

FTM Fears

I want to preface this post by saying that I truly have no beef against those of you who choose to use disposables with your babies. I am not here to make you feel guilty for that choice. I, the owner of a cloth diaper store, have used thousands of disposable diapers in the past. I will be the first one to tell you that cloth diapering isn't for everyone, and that's okay. I just want you to know what the benefits of using cloth are and help you get past any fears you may have about using them. Here's my story of my own personal FTM cloth diapering fears:

When I was pregnant with my oldest son, Connor, and I heard the word "cloth diaper" I would feel literal fear shoot throughout my body. I had no idea how to care for an infant and the thought of adding in some unknown, complicated diaper was scary. It didn't help that I had never seen a modern cloth diaper in person so I had all these preconceived notions of pins and plastic pants. I wish I would have known how incredible the modern cloth diaper is. My pregnancy with Connor was filled with problems. He was my second pregnancy after a miscarriage, I battled low progesterone levels early on, then I developed high blood pressure which became pre-eclampsia. I think that after going through all that trauma the last thing I wanted to deal with was sifting through all the cloth diaper information on the web to figure the whole thing out. I wanted a simple diapering solution for my baby that wouldn't get me weird looks from my friends when I told them what kind I used. When I mentioned it to my husband he (being even less educated about cloth diapers that I was) shut me down right away. Cloth diapers never even had a chance!

Looking back now I wish I had been brave enough to make the cloth diaper leap. I regret every single Pampers, Huggies and Member's Mark diaper I placed on my babies bottom. It was expensive (thousands of dollars spent), messy (SO. MANY. DISGUSTING.BLOW-OUTS!), smelly (rotting dirty diapers stinking up in a diaper pail) and uncomfortable for my babies (too many diaper rashes to count). If only I had been able to get past my FTM fears and really see the benefits of cloth I would have saved myself a lot of regret.

Alright, it's time to break down my FTM fears regarding cloth diapers:

Poo - Yeah let's just get that one out of the way. With cloth diapers you do have to deal with the doo (haha). However, and believe me, I'm very sorry to have to be the one to tell you new moms this... it doesn't matter if you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers you will be interacting with poo on a daily basis (and most likely multiple times a day) for years. Poo is a part of a mother's life. Wow, looking back I really had no idea how much poo there really was lol! That being said dealing with a poopie cloth diaper really is no big deal. It is nothing compared to the newborn blowouts in a disposable that required me to not only bathe the baby because he was completely covered from bottom to top in poo but a complete outfit change and a HAZMAT suite to clean up the changing area afterwards. What do you do with poop in a cloth diaper? Well if it's newborn breastfed poo (yeah that super runny kind) you just toss the diaper in your diaper pail and launder it. That kind of poo is water soluble and washes right out in your washing machine. As your baby gets older and the poo becomes more solid you just take it to the toilet and dump the poo in. Do you think I make it sound too easy? Sorry, but it's just the reality. Let me tell you the best part about poo in a cloth diaper. Once you dump it out and flush it, it's gone! You wash your diaper and everything is fresh and clean. With a disposable you will wrap that poo up, jam it down into your diaper genie and there it will sit (and stink) until enough of them build up to haul the load out to your trashcan. When we used it the diaper genie was always so disgusting I had to have my husband empty it for me because I would gag at the smell. Now my diapers never get stinky because everything is kept very clean. Regarding those messy blow outs - nothing can contain a blow-out like a cloth diaper.  Reagan had a 10 day long bout of diarrhea recently and I thought there was no way the cloth diapers would be able to handle that kind of mess (he's 17 months old). Well once again my cloth diapers proved my fears wrong and we didn't have a single blow out or leak.

It's complicated - I agree with the statement that disposable diapers aren't very complicated. Plus, if you google disposable diapers you aren't going to come up with a thousand blogs like this with detailed instructions on how to use them. Disposable diapers are marketed to look easy. They do have their benefits and lord knows I've used my fair share of them. So they must be the easier solution to diapering, right? Not necessarily. Recent advances in the cloth diapering community have lead to the development of some truly amazing cloth dipers. AIO (All-In-One) cloth diapers are used just like a disposable (aside from being reusable). There is only one piece to them, no stuffing required. I will make the bold statement of AIO's are the easiest cloth diaper to use (some will disagree!). Pocket diapers are only slightly more involved (You can read my blog on pockets here.) because you have to do the stuffin'. In reality the learning curve for cloth diapers is very short. Within one day I had it down. Once I started cloth diapering I loved it so much that I never looked back.

It's expensive - I remember going to a cloth diaper website while I was pregnant and reading that I would need 25 cloth diapers for my newborn. I did the math and *gasp* I couldn't believe how much money I would have to spend up front on 25 cloth diapers. That was reason #1 for my husband to shut me down lol. I was calculating the cost of the fanciest AIO diaper on the market and coming up with over $600 for something for my kid to poo in was not in the cards. I wish I would have kept looking and seen the less expensive cloth options that were available. You really don't have to spend $25 (each) to get a great cloth diaper. There are some fantastic pockets out there that only cost $10 each. When you look at buying 25 of those the cost is a little easier to swallow. Don't get me wrong, the more expensive cloth diapers are amazing, but it's not the only product out there that will work well! Regardless of the upfront cost of cloth it will end up saving you money in the long run. It's understandable to think that it's easier to spend $10 at a time on a pack of diapers at the store. The problem is that pack is only going to last you a week and then your $10 is in the garbage can. If you had spent that $10 on a cloth diaper you would have something you could reuse for years. When it comes down to it you really DON'T have to buy 25 cloth diapers up front in one huge chunk. If you're pregnant you can start buying them one at a time when you find a great deal until you have enough. It's okay to only use a few cloth diapers a day with your baby until you've built up a great stash. Using just 1 cloth diaper a day will save you $200 during the time you're diapering your baby. That is a lot of money!

I hope I've been able to address some of the FTM cloth diapering fears you may have. Is there anything I missed? I'm happy to explain the ins-and-outs of using cloth diapers with you personally if you'd like to email me or leave a comment below!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pocket Diapers

When I first starting researching cloth diapers there was SO much information available that I found it overwhelming and often times intimidating. I ran into terms like AIOs, Pockets, Fitteds, Prefolds, Covers, AI2's (If you'd like to read a great breakdown of all these terms Click here). What did it all mean? I found it difficult to sift through the information. On top of that everyone has their own opinion about what works best.

With cloth diapering there really isn't a one-size-fits-all recipe for how to diaper babies. Every baby (and parent for that matter) is different. Each person will develop their own personal preferences regarding their diapers, their laundering routine and detergents etc. I think the reason we get so emotional about diapers is because (obviously) we Mama-Bears want to do everything we can to protect and care for our children. Secondly, diapers sit precisely on your babies most sensitive parts. We want our kids to be comfortable and happy and we will fight to the death to make it happen! That being said I will try to break down the different parts to these diapers with straight up information, but I'm sure my own personal opinion will seep through. My goal is to get you the information you need to be able to start cloth diapering without being confusing or frustrating.

I'm going to start with the pocket diaper. The reason for this is because this is a very popular kind of diaper and because all the diapers I sell at Chic Cheeks are pocket diapers (For now! More inventory will be added soon!). The pocket diaper can look intimidating to the inexperienced cloth diaperer. What's with all the extra parts? What is an insert/soaker? Is it really complicated? Allow me to start with the last question first. The answer - no!

Pocket diapers break down to a few different parts. The first would be an outer, waterproof layer. Inside the diaper you have a layer of material (usually microsuede or microfleece but there are others) that forms the pocket. This layer is made specifically wick moisture away from your babies skin. Lastly, you have the insert (also called a soaker). This is an ultra absorbent material that you stuff inside the pocket. These can be made from a variety of materials. Hemp, Bamboo, and Microfiber are all popular insert materials and they all work well.

Here's a graphic from Happy Heiny's demonstrating the parts of a pocket diaper.

Pocket diapers come in One Size as well as Sized (S,M,L) options. Some prefer going with individual sizes for their babies to get the best fit (you will also get a trimmer diaper) but this will mean having to purchase multiple sizes for your baby as time goes on (meaning it will be more expensive).

One size diapers are popular because most will fit from birth to potty training by adjusting the size of the diaper to fit your baby. This is an excellent option if you are diapering multiple babies with the same diapers, or to use with future children as time goes on. There are two different ways the manufacturers are able achieve a one size diaper. The first is with a snap down rise system (as seen on the graphic above). Using rows of snaps you adjust the length of the diaper and as baby grows you move to a different row. The second way a one size diaper can be made is with an adjustable inner elastic around the legs that make the diaper longer or shorter depending on the setting you put it at. We don't recommend any one size diaper over another. It's best to try one of each style to decide what your personal preference is.

Snaps Vs. Hook and Loop - These are the different options used for securing the diaper around your baby and each has it's own benefits. Hook and Loop (also called Velcro or Aplix - I will refer to it as H/L) is a very popular option for the novice cloth diaperer. This closure is considered more daycare/babysitter/dad friendly because there's no guessing the correct setting, you just put it on like you would a disposable. This closure is very easy to use, although there can be some drawbacks. The first is the dreaded diaper chain. If you aren't careful to fold the tab back onto the laundering tabs your diapers will stick to each other in the wash forming large chains of diapers that need to be peeled apart. The second drawback to H/L is that it doesn't last as long. Over time the H/L wears out and pieces of fuzz get stuck in it and it will not fasten as well. For many people the ease of H/L outweighs the potential negatives associated with it.
Snaps are generally a good choice if you are diapering an older baby. As toddlers become interested in their diapers they can easily undo H/L. Snaps are usually much harder for them to take apart so the diaper is more likely to stay on. In general snaps will last a very long time, although they can break or come loose. Personally I don't mind using snaps (even with my SLE induced arthritis) and I prefer the clean look a snap diaper has over the large strips of H/L.

Are pocket diapers easy to use? Yes they are. They are put on and worn just like a disposable. The only difference is after it is soiled you pull the insert out of the pocket before you wash it (there are some brands of diapers where you don't even have to unstuff!). Then, after it's been laundered you restuff the pocket with the insert. It's that easy!

So, why go with a pocket diaper over an All-In-One cloth diaper? Because the absorbent layers of an AIO are sewn down into the diaper they can be harder to clean (leading to stinky diapers) and they take longer to dry. With a pocket diaper all the pieces come apart so they will be more thoroughly cleaned and faster drying. You can also easily adjust the absorbency of a pocket diaper by using doublers or different types of soakers. With my stash of 20 pocket diapers it takes me a total of 5-8 minutes at a time to stuff my diapers after they are clean. I find them very simple to use and am very happy with them!

Please let me know if you find any of this information overwhelming or confusing. I'm happy to help with any questions you may have! You can email me at or leave comments below.