July 28, 2017 1:38:52 PM EDT
If you have seen our Facebook Live videos, read other blog posts, talked to me in our brick and mortar store, seen any of my social media posts, or know me in real life, you have probably heard me gush about using wool as a diaper cover (or as very beautiful clothing). Not just any wool, either; you have heard me majorly name-dropping the brand name Sloomb (sustainablebabyish if we want to throw it back to their older name). So if you have, I apologize, because I am about to gush a little (or a lot) more.
Wool is an incredible textile. It is self-regulatory in temperature, meaning that it holds in heat when it is cold, but it breathes when it is warm. That’s why hikers can wear the same wool hiking socks all year long, no matter the climate. It is antimicrobial and antibacterial, and because it breathes so well, it allows water vapor to pass through, making it naturally repellent of growing mold or mildew. MAGIC! These properties allow for wool to be worn frequently, without holding an odor or needing to be washed after each use. Further, wool is a natural fiber (as opposite to synthetics like polyester), and it is biodegradable, so it is an incredible choice of textile for any garment if being eco-friendly is the name of your game.
So what makes wool an incredible diaper garment? Shew, how much time do you have? Wool has the incredible ability to be water repellent AND absorbent. Come again? Yes, that’s right. When treated with lanolin, a wool diaper cover can absorb liquid (read: baby pee) but not transfer that moisture to the outside of the wool garment (read: “waterproof”). Dwelling on that thought for a moment: imagine putting an overnight diaper on your baby, throwing a cozy wool diaper cover (or wool shorts, or wool pants) over that diaper, and knowing that even if the diaper runneth over onto the wool, it will not leak onto your bed linens. No. Wet. Sheets.
Next cool thing? Jumping back to the antimicrobial/antibacterial-ness of wool, when wool is properly treated with lanolin, even if your baby’s wool gets soaked in pee, you don’t need to wash it. Wait, germaphobes, don’t leave! Listen up, cause this bit is just the coolest. Lanolin and urine create a chemical reaction when they meet, and the lanolin neutralizes the urine; what is left behind is nothing to shake a stick at. All you have to do is lay the item flat to dry. Your baby can continue to wet their wool, and you can continue to lay flat to dry and reuse. It is time to wash when your wool garment is completely dry and smells like pee. This means that the lanolin has worn off with wear, and is no longer neutralizing the urine. Then, it’s time to rinse and wash with a wool safe soap until the wash water is no longer yucky, and then treat the garment with a lanolin solution, and you’re back in the game for another stretch. The more pieces you have to rotate between, the longer each piece keeps it’s lanolin without wearing off. What a great excuse to #buyallthewoolies.
So, why Sloomb? There are many brands that produce wool diaper garments, so why this one brand? Sloomb is amazing. A small business, and a woman-owned business no less, this is a company dedicated to their customer base, who are committed to providing high quality products and to providing transparency for their business and sourcing practices. Further, the sizing has the most incredible ranges on babies. For example, Sloomb playwoolies in a size 6-18 months truly do fit for an entire year - just cuff when there’s extra length, and let that cuff out as they grow. Knit wool covers and underwoolies, same thing. Otto has worn a size medium in covers, and a size 2 in underwoolies, for over a year (while growing many, many inches, and gaining many, many pounds!).
Here's Otto is size 2 Sloomb underwoolies at six-ish months old, and....
...that same size, different color, on a much bigger Otto!
A one-year-old Otto is 6-18 month Playwoolies in Hunter. Look how much length he still had to grow! The little ribbed cuffs at the bottom can be folded up so that they aren't stepping on them, he probably just wouldn't sit still long enough for me to do it that day!
Also, Sloomb is just incredibly high quality. My two-year-old has worn Sloomb as his regular pants/bottoms exclusively, since he was about five months old. Guys...he is not a gentle, docile child. He is active. Like, endlessly active. He is outdoors, unless it is below freezing or weathering. He gets muddy, he climbs fallen logs, he steps in creeks, he stands knee-deep in lake water. We do not baby our wool, because we do not have to. There is nothing that wool wash, paired occasionally with the help of Fels Naptha or Buncha Farmers stain sticks, has not gotten out. We have only once had a snag in our wool, and with the help of a very talented friend who knits, we were back in business in no time. There are also women who have small side businesses to mend injured woolies, so nothing is ever beyond repair. But, like I said - two years of hardcore wearing, and only one teeny fixable uh oh. I like those odds!
So, just a quick recap: if someone asks you why they should buy Sloomb woolies for a baby, you can now reply with:
+ Temperature regulating fabric - comfy all the time!
+ Environmentally friendly textile.
+ Each size fits for a longer time span than traditional baby clothing sizes.
+ Leaking diapers are no match for lanolin and wool.
+ Highly durable for the active toddler.
+ Supporting a small, woman-owned business.
+ Dry bed sheets.
+ Beyond adorable.
Do you need more convincing? Do you have questions about how to treat your wool? Reach out in the comments or in the TGN Tribe facebook group - we are happy to help you out!
April 14, 2017 12:21:08 PM EDT
Can we take a minute to talk cloth diaper prices? I remember researching cloth diapers back when I was expecting my first baby, and, not knowing what to expect, being a little surprised at the prices. $20-ish EACH? But then I need, ...24? That’s…. (gets out calculator). There’s no denying that that number ends up being a hefty outright investment for many.
But, let’s talk about it in the construct of being an investment. A cursory glance at a big box store website and a few simple math equations can prove that using cloth diapers is still exponentially cheaper than using disposables. Let’s look at the big box of store brand of disposable diapers, at roughly $29 a pop for about 200 diapers. Let’s imagine that in that first year, you are changing 8 diapers a day. NOW LETS MATH!
200 diapers in a box / 8 diaper changes a day = 25 days worth of diapers
365 days in a year / 25 days of diapers = 14.6 boxes of disposables a year
14.6 boxes annually x $29 a box = $423.40 a year on disposable diapers
Now, okay, I know that there are variables here that this equation doesn’t account for, like that maybe you have a coupon to alleviate a small portion of that cost, or that maybe there is a price discrepancy between sizes or brands, or some days you will use 6 diapers but others you will use 10, etc., but this is a general idea of what it could cost to use disposable diapers for year. This is also right around (or a bit over) the total amount of money it could cost to invest in a full set of cloth diapers, that will last for your baby’s entire time in cloth diapers. Many children learn to use the potty between 2-3 years old. Already, then, you are spending at least 50% less on cloth diapers than you would be with disposable diapers.
Further, as long as you take good care of your cloth diapers (which you totally will, you rock star!) then they are going to be in great shape to use for another baby. Using the same set of cloth diapers on subsequent children is straight money savings. This is where your investment is really going to make you do a happy dance!
Okay, so we’ve very very briefly validated the cost of cloth diapers. Now can we talk about something else? Can we talk about the diapers you may stumble across in your search for the perfect diapering system? The ones that are like, $5 a diaper, in 17 zillion prints? The ones with the nickname that has the word "cheap" right in it?
While I completely understand the allure of the deal, I have to caution that cloth diapers, much like many consumer goods, are definitely a product that falls under the clause of “you get what you pay for.” Speaking from experience: when Jack was in diapers, around 18 months old, he suddenly took an interest in superheroes. I thought, “Neat, I’ll find him a super hero diaper!” Looking online, I could not find what I had in mind, until I stumbled upon a pocket style diaper with a red background and black spiderwebs. The perfect Spider-Man diaper! And only $5! With cautious excitement, I ordered right away. This diaper, guys, was just the worst. So ill-fitting, for one. Boxy, poorly stitched, an untied thread, weak snaps, ..the whole gamut of problems.
Looking over its imperfections, it made sense that the diaper cost next to nothing; next to my lineup of brands like GroVia and Thirsties and bumGenius, the cheap diaper looked and felt and performed in such a way that was exactly that: cheap.
See, the reason that The Big Brands price the way they do is for a number of reasons, the first of which being a high quality product. The diapers they produce are constructed with top of the line materials, meant to withstand the use, washing, and abuse of actual babies using them. I have so many of Jack’s original diapers that have gone through nearly three years of diapering him, and now just shy of two years diapering his baby brother. Aside from some very minor TLC, they have needed nothing. Any additional diapers that I’ve purchased have been for the purposes of my own preferences, new prints/colors, etc. I did not have to buy a whole new set for a whole new baby, because the brands that I purchased made products that were meant to last for more than one baby.
The GroVia AIO in this picture was Jack's diaper, and he wore it for more than two years. Here is Otto, almost 2, wearing the same exact diaper. Money well spent!
Further, and this is a big one, they cost more because they are paying more to the individuals who are constructing them. Brands like Sloomb, Thirsties, and bumGenius are able to pay a fair wage to workers in the U.S. to construct their products. Other brands, including those already mentioned, have small but mighty staffs of employees working tirelessly to provide the best customer service, and fast and reliable communication and shipping to their retailers (like us!). I don’t have the proof to back this up, but it stands to reason that a product that only costs $5 to a consumer costs very little in material, and pays very little in labor to produce it. The way that we consume, and where we put our money, is an incredibly powerful thing. It can be very empowering to pay more for a well-constructed, high quality product, knowing that it is often a more ethically made product as well.
Still sticker-shocked at the big brand pricing? There are a lot of ways to make cloth diapering work on a smaller budget! Prefold diapers are very inexpensive per unit, and the waterproof covers/shells used over prefolds can be reused throughout the day multiple times by just replacing the soiled prefold on the inside. And while an ideal stash has around 24 diaper changes in it, you can work with less and launder daily until you can slowly build your stash to that magic number of 24. Creating a registry or a wishlist on our website for your cloth diapers is a great way to gently point your loved ones towards the diapers and accessories that you want, too. And take solace that the money that is invested in high quality diapers will serve you so much better in the long run.
March 6, 2017 12:18:17 PM EST
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the bumGenius 5.0 and the bumGenius Freetime? I’m here to tell you!
First, let’s talk about how they are similar. Both diapers feature the same fabric contents. They have a stay dry microfleece material on top (stay dry materials wick the moisture away from a baby’s skin, so that they don’t feel the wetness). Underneath that stay dry microfleece, the diapers have microfiber material as the absorbent material. Microfiber absorbs a lot, and quickly! Both diapers feature solid color or printed PUL fabric as their outside fabric. PUL is the waterproof material that keeps moisture and messes in.
In addition to fabric content, the diapers have the same series of snaps to adjust the rise and the waist of the diaper. Each fit babies in a range of 8-35 lb.
The most major difference is the style of diaper. The 5.0 is a pocket style diaper - the diaper is lined with microfleece with the exception of an opening (the pocket) in the back. The microfiber comes as inserts that must be inserted into the pocket in the back of the diaper. This is called “stuffing” your diapers. Thus, these diapers do require regular assembly.
The Freetime is an all-in-one (AIO) style diaper - the absorbent inserts are microfiber with microfleece sewn on the top, and they are sewn into the diaper on either end. These inserts lay one on top of the other, but otherwise need no assembly like the pocket style. AIO diapers tend to be deemed more convenient, since they do not require any additional assembly steps, or any switching of parts like other diaper styles.
The other notable difference in the styles is in the amount of customization that they allow. The Freetime diaper has sewn in inserts, so they cannot be removed without permanently altering (and damaging) the diaper. The diaper can be added to for additional absorbency, by adding a booster or doubler underneath the sewn in inserts, as long as the additions do not add so much bulk that the diaper loses its snug fit around the leg gussets.
The 5.0 allows for much greater customization. The microfiber inserts can be used with the addition of an insert of a different material (like a hemp or bamboo doubler) or the microfiber inserts can be set aside and the diaper can be used with completely different inserts altogether. This level of customization allows for you to choose exactly the combination of inserts and materials that work best for your baby, without adding too much cost or altering the diaper.
So there you have it! Two great diapers, same great fit and same base materials. Different diaper styles, and different levels of ability to customize your diaper.