Day 5 and a tutorial

Check out the rules to the Flats & Handwashing Challenge I'm participating in HERE.

Yesterday ended well.  We had our home group meeting last night, so the kids were running around like crazy people.  I put little man in a pink/brown striped Amy Coe recieving blanket that I had gotten when his older sister was a baby.  It was my favorite blanket then, (she was a summer baby, so I actually used my recieving blankets!  I know most people think they're worthless, but we've always used them) and it's now my very favorite diaper!  It is perfectly square, OH SO SOFT and absorbs like crazy!
I'll show a few of the "diapers" we used yesterday when we used ONLY local items.  (See my addition to the challenge HERE)  And I'll tell what I thought about them. 
This was a Gerber recieving blanket that I got at my son's baby shower.  We never used it, since he was a winter baby and we needed more warmth.  It folded and pinned REALLY well since it is so thin, but it's probably as worthless as everyone says the Gerber flats are.  That said...it held one pee with no leaks, so...it works. 
These 2 are Carter's recieving blankets and they must be flannel or something.  They are SO SOFT and they're fairly large.  The only thing I don't like is that they're not square, so I have to fold down an edge before I actually fold if I do the origami fold.  BUT!!  Doing the kite fold proved awesome because it gave me more layers in the front where we need them for little man, so I am using these more often.  I said yesterday I'd use the bamboo towel again, but little man was screaming his head off last night and I didn't get down to get it off the fence, so I just used one of these origami style with a flour sack towel pad folded in the middle and when he woke up the outside was not wet, the part touching his skin was not wet, but the interior was SOAKING.  Color me impressed!
This is the flat my husband and I fashioned out of the old crib sheet.  I'm not sure if you can tell, but the thing is HUGE.  I haven't measured it yet, but it has to be about 40x40.  While it folds well and is absorbant, it's not very soft and it doesn't pin well.  I think if I snappi'd it it would work out well, but I wasn't impressed.  This is the dipe that leaked onto our wool cover.  Different sheets, of course, would produce different results.
And here it is...the cre'me de la cre'me...the Amy Coe recieving blanket.  I have another one with pink and brown dots and I wish I had more.  I know it came from Target, but they don't carry them anymore when I checked last week.  I'm not sure if the brand that took over AC spot is still this square, this soft, etc. but it would be totally worth finding them on ebay or whereever a person would have to go to find them. 

I think I worked out my very favorite method of handwashing now.  I needed to work out some frustrations after the kids went to bed last night, so I rinsed, washed washed washed (they were not coming clean enough for my liking) and then filled the bucket with cold water to wait overnight.  This morning all I had to do was rinse, ring them out and hang them.  I can handle that even before coffee!  And boy-oh-boy was it a good thing I did, because as I was vigorously washing the diapers, I suddenly felt no resistance at the end of my plunger.  I wondered what the heck and pulled the lid off to find this:
Aaaaand what is this?  Time # FOUR I've learned this lesson this week?  YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!  So I came downstairs and got the heavy-duty plunger we swiped the plastic handle from and used it.  We refused to drill holes in it because it's our only other plunger and the rubber is thick.  Overall, though, I think it worked better without the holes.  There is more resistance, but it moves the cloth around the bucket more.  Again, I'm really glad I discovered this last night instead of this morning.  It would have flustered me beyond belief first thing.

Today I've been doing everything in my power to only use 3 covers.  And that means 2 covers because the one wool soaker is out of commission until it dries.  Which meant 1 cover this morning because the GenY was hanging on the line.  Which meant no covers because the other wool soaker was airing out after being an overnight cover.  Hmmmm...I swore I wouldn't let him go without a cover because he is too heavy a wetter.  But I did.  No one ever said I wasn't stubborn! 
HA!  note we are OUTSIDE and take a look at the next picture.  Typically my little man must be on someone's lap, but I wouldn't let him.  I was afraid he'd pee on me.  I don't fancy getting dressed twice in one day.  Seems like a waste of resources to me.  haha
Thankfully the lone wool soaker was ready in time for nap.  We'll make it until at least 3pm on day 5 with only 3 covers used.  Maybe even later because the Gen Y will be dry, too!  Tomorrow I think I need to bust out the Pitterpat shorties, though.  They're too adorable and he hasn't gotten to sport them since I last week.  Bar-none the CUTEST shorties EVER! 

Since we're discussing wool, I thought I'd put a little picture tutorial here about washing and lanolizing wool.  I stayed away from wool for so long, but a local CD mommy showed me how easy it is and I have been hooked since.  In fact, I hope to get another Woollybottoms soaker from Itsy Bitsy Bums when they stock tonight.  (P.S.  Abby at IBB is having a Memorial Day sale with free gifts with purchase of Made in America items and free shipping for military.  Check her out!)

I <3 wool partially because I hate laundry.  It only needs to be washed and lanolized about once a month (depending on how rough your child is on his/her clothes...my son is pretty wild, but his soakers still last a good long time)  YES.  I thought it was gross too, until I started using it and could still smell the lanolin (Lovespell by Woollybottoms is to live for!!) use after use after use.  This is because wool is naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial.  Of course, if it gets soiled with poo, it will need to be washed right away.

First fill your sink about 1/3 full with warm water and a drop or two of baby soap. I've used the amber-colored Johnson & Johnson or Mrs. Meyers. It hasn't made a lick of difference and the J&J is super cheap.
Put your wool in the sink and gently swish it around.  Let it sit about 15 minutes, coming back to swish it every few minutes.  Do not get rough with the wool, gently agitating it around will get it to come clean.  You can see here the water is dingy.  This is the first wash.  After that, drain your sink and gently squish the water out of the wool.  Do not twist or squeeze or get rough. 

Fill the other basin (or the same one if you only have a single basin sink) with warm water and no soap.  Do the same, letting the wool sit for 15 minutes and gently swishing it now and again.  If you have an infant, you will probably not need another wash cycle, but since my son is 17mo old and a wild child, I do 2 of these cycles until the water is completely clear.  (so 2 washes and 2 rinses)
Note that I have now turned them inside out.  I do one wash/rinse right side out and one inside out.  I then leave them inside out so that the lanolin will be primarily on the inside-where it is needed.

Next you will need to prepare your lanolin.  I have used Lansinoh (which you can get at WalMart or Target with the bottles, nipples and breast pumps.  It is in a lavender box) and Woollybottoms Lovespell.  The Lovespell is absolutely heavenly, but if you have a sensitive little one or you're nursing, the Lansinoh is unscented and will do you double duty. 

Heat some water (you can do this in the microwave, but we don't use microwaves, so I heat mine in an 8" saute pan on the stove) and add a drop of baby shampoo and about a teaspoon of your lanolin.  Stir it around in the hot water until it is completely dissolved and I usually leave it on the heat for a couple more minutes, just to be sure it's good and incorporated.  If it's not, you will get "lanolin spots" on your wool, which can be sticky or even discolor the wool.  Despite that, don't be scurred!  It's not nearly as difficult as it sounds!

Again, fill your sink about 1/3 of the way with warm water.  BEFORE ADDING YOUR WOOL, add your lanolin solution and stir it around.  Now add your wool and do the same as you would for a wash cycle, leaving it sit for about 15 minutes and agitating it gently every few minutes.  I use my spoon to agitate this cycle, as the lanolin can coat your hands and make them feel sticky.

To explain WHY we lanolize, you must know what lanolin does.  It is a natural sheep by-product that the sheep produces and it is found in the wool upon shearing.  It feels "greasy" because it makes the sheep waterproof and helps with that anti-bacterial/anti-microbial property that the wool has.  When you add lanolin back into your wool, it will wick moisture away from your baby and keep them warm and dry just like it kept the sheep warm and dry.  This is why when you first put the wool in the wash water, it floats, or repels the water.

Drain the sink and gently squish out the excess water. Let the wool drain while you get a towel and fold it in half lengthwise. 
Turn your wool right side out and lay it on the towel, smoothing it back to it's normal shape.  I started mine off this way, but ended up putting the blue soaker at the other end of the towel.
Roll the towel up and put it somewhere room temperature out of direct sunlight.  The towel will wick away most of the moisture from the wool and after about a day, you can unroll them and let them sit somewhere (again, out of direct sunlight) until they are completely dry.  Drying takes about 2-3 days depending on the thickness of your wool and the "weather" inside of your house.  Considering that you haven't washed them in a month, though, it's not so much to ask to give up 2-3 days for drying.

So there you have it!  Please let me know what you think of these tutorials.  Are they helpful?  Are they detailed enough?  Are they boring?  I have a couple more lined up, but I'd like to hear your opinion first.  Thanks!


Little Tiny Love said...

I thought this was great! I was wondering, what are the alternatives to wool? I'm looking for covers that are not made of PUL and my family has a known wool allergy, so I can't even bring it into the house much less try it on my son =/ Would acrylic work the same? I've heard you can also use fleece, but that doesn't seem practical for summer.

Tara said...

Fleece won't be any warmer than wool, I don't think...it's pretty breathable and not any thicker. Fleece won't be anti-microbial or anti-bacterial, though.

As far as acrylic, it won't have any of the good properties of wool or fleece as it's not waterproof.

Of course you know your child, but I searched for a couple of days about wool allergies/alternatives and what I came up with is that most people don't have a true wool ALLERGY, it's just an irritation because wool can be so coarse. In this case, you can use merino wool or other icelandic wools that are very very soft and don't typically cause the irritation.

In the event it is a true allergy, some people are not allergic to alpaca or llama hair. I know llamajamas uses alpaca/llama hair, though I'm not sure of others. I also read that most of the wool allergies are actually to the lanolin in the wool, in which case wool covers would be completely out of the question, because they'd be worthless to you.

Loooong story short, if your sweet thang has a true wool allergy (or you do and you don't want to touch it!) I would suggest a fleece cover, maybe like sugarpeas, and see how it works out for you. They're great in and of themselves because you can toss them in the wash/dryer once they get dirty and you've just skipped some steps :)

I hope that helps, I'll email this to you, but I wanted any other reader who sees this to have an answer as well.

Pitterpat said...

I just have to let you know Acrylic hand knit longies work very well as a cover! - Acrylic (red Heart Yarn found at nearly every second hand store I go into) doesn't absorb wetness and doesn't lanolize like wool - so they feel wet a bit sooner than wool and need to be washed more often. But they ar emachine washable -very breathable and since they are knit they are perfect for summer!! I Love Fleece soakers for summer The ones from AliyahsHopeChest on ETSY are my favs! Well made, cute, affordable and she OFTEN has sales! They can be worn alone or under clothing too!!!