- Why would I want to use cloth diapers?
- Don't cloth diapers get stains?
- How do I get started?
- How do I wash my diapers?
- Detergent confusion!
- Comprehensive Guide to Newborn Cloth Diapering
- How many diapers do I need?
- Do I really want to use cloth wipes?
- What the heck do all of these different inserts mean?
- What diaper creams can I use with my cloth diapers?
- Nighttime Diapering 101
- What other equipment do I need?
- Diaper Rash 101
- A note on "my diapers are leaking so I need to strip them"
- How do I care for my wool?
- A few notes on cloth "Trainers" and potty training~
- I need some more help :)
- All About Potty Training
- Menstrual Alternatives
Why would I want to use cloth diapers? TOP
A lil' disclaimer:
Cloth diapering is easy and fun. There are lots of choices out there but don't get overwhelmed! We have been in business for many years with our primary goal to make cloth easy and fun for every family. Cloth diapering doesn't have to be "all or nothing", if you can work cloth into your lifestyle weekends and evenings only, or solely for nighttime use that is fantastic, it is money saved, great for the environment and your baby's health, even a few cloth diapers can make a difference :)
Our moms did "cloth" with diapers the size of tablecloths and pins that could poke through steel (ask your mama, she probably still has the scars from those pins on her fingers). Those days are gone, and cloth has come a long way. Any questions, please e-mail me at Abbyslane@aol.com, I promise to get back to you as quickly as my children will let me.
For me, there was a HUGE reason to get involved- $$$$$!! The savings is astronomical. I was spending about 40-50$ a month in disposables, not even including wipes and diaper rash cream on top of that. Cloth diapering is an investment, and you can make it as expensive or as thrifty as you want. Cloth diapers "breathe" much better than disposables, and children tend to have fewer incidences of diaper rash in cloth diapers.
FUN!! Cloth diapering is such a fun experience!! I had heard horror stories of cloth diapers...getting stuck with pins, leaking, poop everywhere, a constant smell in your house, etc. Thanks to so many wonderful updates in cloth diapering technology (hee hee), all of those myths have been dispelled. You can invest in cloth diapers that are no different than disposables in style, totally eliminating pins, or you can "pin" your covers with a Snappi fastener (check out our Snappi page to see what it is!) Odors can be easily managed, and diaper changes are no messier than disposable changing. Cloth diapering makes diaper changing interesting, cute prints to soft fabrics let you know cloth diapering pleases both mom and baby, plus extra $$ in your wallet.
Don't cloth diapers get stains? TOP
If you have a good cloth diaper wash routine, most stains will only occur during the first few months of your baby's life. A good cloth diaper safe detergent will fade stains over time, shout stain remover is great for stubborn ones. Also, when you take wet diapers out of the washer, lay them in the sun! The sun creates a natural bleaching effect on the diapers and will fade stains. If you have stains, press the diapers to your nose for a deep whiff, if you have odors then we need to fix the wash routine, if they are purely cosmetic stains then you can use one of the above methods to rid them.
How do I get started? TOP
The products I sell at Abby's Lane, I have used personally or had many customers thrilled with, so I can attest and guarantee your satisfaction with every item. I have broken down these products into categories:
A two piece system, one being your waterproof “pocket”, the second piece is an insert you stuff into the pocket for absorbency. Offers versatility of absorbency and ease-of-use, once stuffed will go on as one piece and come off as one piece.. Change entire diaper at each changing, easily stuffed with more inserts for older babies and nighttime. Many pockets are now one-size, working best at around 6-8 weeks, through roughly 35 pounds. Pocket diapers do not require a cover. Bumgenius 4.0 pockets have a 14 day trial period on one diaper, a great way to test run the pocket diaper system. I also love the Tiny Tush one size fitteds, incredible size range and very well made in the USA. Swaddlebees offers pocket diapers with natural fibers on the inside with their Econappi and Bamboo one size pocket diapers as well.
Prefolds and Covers:
Prefolds are 100% cotton diapers, square in shape. They can wrapped around the baby and fastened (with a plastic tether fastener called a Snappi), or folded like a business letter and laid inside a cover. Prefolds absorb and contain, but need a second piece called a cover. Covers are waterproof, usually laminated polyester materials in bright colors, they cover the prefold diaper to make for a waterproof system. Most covers can be reused throughout the day, unless a bowel movement leaks onto them. Our best selling cover is steadily the Thirsties duo wrap, which comes in a variety of closures and colors.
Fitted diapers are similar to prefolds and easily interchanged with them for diapering. Fitteds absorb and contain, but do not require using a fastener or folding, they will have Velcro (also called aplix) closure or snap closure. Fitteds do need a cover, like prefolds do. Fitteds are useful in older babies for napping and nighttime, as their absorbency wraps around your baby rather than just down the middle like pocket diapers. SustainableBabyish makes some of the most absorbent fitteds on the market, other favorites are Blueberry Bamboo one size fitteds, and the stay-dry Thirsties Duo Fab Fitteds/
AIO's or All-In-One's:
One piece, easy to use, great for caregivers. Usually very trim fitting under clothes, but if your baby outwets their absorbency, you may have to change very frequently or add an insert on top of the diaper. Some AIO diapers have natural fibers directly against the baby’s skin, whereas most pockets will have a stay dry lining from synthetic materials. AIO diapers do not require a cover. Many AIO diapers now offer an additional space to stuff an insert if needed. An example would be the Thirsties Duo AIO, and the Blueberry Basix AIO.
Hybrid or AI2 (All-In-Two) Systems:
Examples of this system would be the Flip, Grovia and Softbums system. This system relies on using an outer shell that is waterproof, and usually one-size (10-30 pounds or so). What absorbs the feces and urine is changed during the day, and some of these brands also have disposable insert options to change out for greater versatility. The Flip system relies on flaps on their covers to hold an insert in place, Grovia has snaps in the shell to snap their inserts in, and Softbums relies on snaps as well. Hybrid systems are incredibly economical, as a variety of inserts can be used in them (even old washcloths or handtowels!)
How do I wash my diapers? TOP
Our comprehensive washing and stripping guide can be found on our blog here:
This is the routine we recommend and see working for many customers and ourselves for 7+ years in diapering:
-Warm prerinse, no cold. If you only have the cold option, skip it.
-Hot wash, at least to the first line of your powdered detergent, for a full load you will likely need closer to the "2" line or half of a full scoop, I personally use the "3" line of our scoop, the fullest it can go
-2 cold rinses, your machine will do one automatically, if you can do an extra rinse, do it. Temperature here really isn't important.
For front Loaders, or top loading HE machines, set the machine to extra water level if you can, don't "trick" it by adding extra or adding weight. Towels will soak up as much water as they add, and manually adding water can break your machine. Rinses are your friend with HE machines, do as many as you can work in, the warmer the better, but NOT the sanitary cycle at any point.
Detergent confusion! TOP
One thing to remember: Every website has an opinion on diaper washing. If it works for you, don't worry about what everyone else (including us) recommends, washing is far from a science. Water conditions, wash cycles, duration of wash cycles, temperatures and how often you are washing all come into play here. What works for your next door neighbor may be problematic for you, so if what you are doing is working, stick with it :)
For Top Loaders:
|Detergents we LOVE||Tide Original or Ultra Powder, Country Save, Planet (but you HAVE to do a hot wash and it is best to do a warm rinse, and you still may periodically need to use a stripping method)|
|Detergents we LIKE||Tide Orignal or Ultra liquid, Cheer, Sun, Tide Free ultra, Mountain Green (same as Planet, definitely HOT wash, warm rinse and be prepared for periodic stripping) Purex Free and Clear is on this list, but we don't recommend it over Tide Free.|
|Detergents we DON'T LIKE||Allen's, Dr. Bronners, 7th generation, Era, Soap Nuts, Gain, Method, Shaklee, any other "free and clear" detergents (powder or liquid)|
|Detergents we DO NOT recommend under any circumstances||Charlies, Sensiclean, Sportwash|
For Front Loaders:
|Detergents we LOVE||Tide HE ultra powder, Country Save|
|Detergents we LIKE||Tide Free ultra HE, Planet|
|Detergents we DON'T LIKE||Allens,Charlies, 7th Generation, Soap Nuts, Sensiclean and most other free and clear, or natural detergents.|
|Detergents we DO NOT recommend under any circumstances||Allens, Any free and clear detergents other than Tide HE|
At Abby's Lane, we recommend washing diapers every 2 days, using a "regular" detergent. We personally use regular powder Tide, and find a great number of customers have their best washing success with Tide as well. Regular meaning not a Free and Clear, or a Natural detergent (including anything soap based). Now, I know some mamas use the natural and F&C detergents without any problems, but we encounter enough problems from our experiences and that of our customers to recommend otherwise. Families who have a "green" household and only use detergents that fall under that category may need extra steps in their laundry cycle to properly cleanse their diapers.We would love to work with you on finding a system that works for you, please e-mail me at Abbyslane@aol.com with any questions.
My disclaimer: If your baby is very sensitive to regular detergents, the least problematic Free and Clear detergent we have found is Tide Free.
Free and clear or natural detergents tend to not have the stronger cleansers that regular detergents do, and they also tend to have waxier ingredients in them. I would estimate 99% of our customers who have odor issues are using a free and clear or natural detergent. We personally love regular, powdered Tide, but any of your other store brands (Gain, Sun, Era, etc..) can work just as well. Don't skimp on detergent, but also don't go overboard. Take the amount you would use on a load of clothing the size of your load of diapers, and use a tiny bit less.
Many are concerned with specific ingredients in mainstream detergents, but we feel they are still the best choice for the majority of our customers. If your child shows a reaction or is allergic to any one detergent, then of course there are alternatives. If you wish to use a detergent that is biodegradable and does not cause as much of an environmental impact, we would love to work with you to find a solution.
The fact that some children react to some of these detergents does not make them harmful overall. As with anything you use for your baby, test it in a small amount first. If you see redness, a rash, blisters, discontinue use. Enzymes are present in Tide, and many other detergents. Enzymes eat away at stains, if you are washing in hot water, the enzymes will get rinsed out. Perfumes are an extra added ingredient, but detergents with perfumes are usually the stronger, mainstream detergents that contain the stronger cleansers, so in order to have the great cleaning agents, the perfumes are part of the package. If you do not like having scents on your clothes there are detergents that do not contain these that we would still recommend. Dyes are present in many mainstream detergents. Are they harmful to diapers? No, it is an aesthetic issue, and unless we are all wearing organic cotton clothing in an off-white shade, we are participating in the dye-phenomenon.
We want to make diaper washing, first and foremost, safe for your child.
This is why we cannot in good conscience recommend Charlie's Soap or Sensi-Clean. We have not been able to pinpoint what causes such a strong reaction in these products, until we do we advise to use other detergents.
Environmental concerns are of course taken into account. We do realize Tide hasn't won any awards for being a "green" detergent, and we have to balance that with the success rate we see of customers using Tide or other mainstream detergents. What we have seen work with a "green" detergent:
-Planet (http://www.planetinc.com/ull.htm) is a detergent brand we see working with the most success amongst biodegradable and eco-friendly detergents. BUT, you do have to wash on hot, you do need a good rinse cycle (we recommend a warm rinse cycle over a cold one for this product), your diapers need to be washed frequently (meaning daily or every other day), and if you have hard water or well water you may need a water softener to aid in your washing. We also see more success with the powder over the liquid.
FRONT LOADERS: Great for the environment, sometimes problematic for diapers. But, it can be done successfully :)
Based on what our customers are telling us, and some trial and error, here is what seems to work with front loaders:
-If you have control over the water level, fill it higher than the load size as the "extra water" setting. Many front loaders don't let you do this, they automatically adjust the water level, but if you can adjust it higher, it will work better.
-Use a HE detergent, or any that is formulated for a front loader. The less suds, the better, and HE are made to be easier to rinse out. Since front loaders are designed to be water-efficient, this is important.
-Use a tad more detergent that you would in a top loader. Not extra, but just closer to what you would use in a regular clothing load of the same size.
-If you have an extra rinse cycle at the end you can use, do so :)
Some mamas will come to us, and say they want enough diapers to only do laundry once a week, or at the most every 5-6 days. This can be incredibly problematic. First, your pail would have to reach the ceiling. Second, I always like to throw out the analogy of storing your husband's work shirts in urine and feces for a week and see how easily you can get them fresh and sparkly on Sunday wash day. I would love to try this with my husband, but by day 3 of the experiment he gets rather cranky ;)
Cloth diapers are diapers, but they are fabric, so remember what they are sitting in, and washing every 1-2 days will eliminate many odor problems.
If you encounter odors or repelling on your diapers, please e-mail me at Abbyslane@aol.com, we can figue it out together :)
Comprehensive Guide to Newborn Cloth Diapering TOP
Cloth diapering a newborn is both easy and lots of fun! Babies aren't too wiggly yet, and nothing is cuter than a newborn little baby bottom wrapped in a cloth diaper.
Newborn diapering is a little different than diapering an older baby, in that you have to think of "quantity" of diapers rather than "absorbancy" as you will when the baby is a little older. Newborns, especially breastfed newborns, tend to have a small bowel movement with each urine output, which can mean upwards of 12-18 diapers a day.This is our "Official" Comprehensive Guide to Cloth Diapering Newborns
System #1 Prefolds and Covers:
Prefolds and Covers - The first system we will be discussing is the system of prefolds and covers. This was my first introduction to cloth diapers about 10 years ago, and is known for it's frugality, effectiveness and long-term usage (meaning prefolds will last through at least 2 children with proper care and storage). The beauty of prefolds, when you fold them over your baby you can customize the fit to your newborn. New babies aren't usually very proportionate, with a chubby belly and skinny legs, or vice/versa, finding a great fit is easy when you are folding the diaper around a little one. We have a link on our site here on two of our favorite newborn folds.
Prefolds themselves are layers of cotton that have been sewn together in layers, usually 4 or 6 layers on the sides, with 6 or 8 layers down the middle. When you get new prefolds, they will look HUGE and actually repel liquid if you use them without pre-washing them. Prefolds are made from cotton, hemp, bamboo or a combination of those fabrics, and will feel wet when the baby urinates. Most newborns are not sensitive to wetness, their urine is in small outputs, very pure, and you are changing pretty frequently since they tend to poop a tiny bit every time they urinate (think little baby skid marks).
If your baby is sensitive to wetness (this will usually resemble a mild sunburn wherever the diaper touches, sometimes accompanied by tiny red dots), you can easily add a fleece liner. We do sell them, or you can cut your own from scrap fleece for a few pennies (no sewing needed), just cut into 15 x 5 rectangles. Lay the liner in the middle of the prefold, half under the baby's bottom, then flip the front half over their belly button. Fold/wrap your prefold as usual, and you have a stay dry barrier down the middle of the diaper where the wetness is mostly concentrated.
Prefolds are great for bigger diapers, even your little newborn ones can be folded for thin and effective doublers in toddler diapers, so don't retire them completely once you bump up a size.
If you have a very heavy wetting newborn, you can tri-fold one prefold like a business letter, lay it in the middle of the prefold that is laying flat under the baby, and you have over 30 layers of cotton to absorb right in the middle of your diaper. It will be bulkier, and you may have to upsize your covers, but it is a great way to make a super absorbent diaper for no extra cost.
The second part of this system is a cover, your prefolds will be doing the catching and absorbing, you need a waterproof layer to protect your baby's clothing. Thirsties duo wraps are our most popular newborn cover, the aplix closure offers a great size range with babies starting at around 7 pounds. Covers may be reused through the day if they are not soiled by a bowel movement, then can be tossed in the pail at the end of the day.
How many diaper changes can you expect?
Newborns will go through 12-18 diapers a day, if you are washing every other day you would want to start with at least 24 diapers. You can always add to your stash, I would rather see you washing more frequently for a few days until the extra diapers arrive then have so many you don't ever get to the last 6-10 diapers (money you could have used for the next size up!)
Prefolds come in a variety of brands and fabrics, truly the Osocozy Indian prefolds in infant size are perfect for most term newborns, you can splurge on the pricier ones with denser fabrics for naptimes and nighttime, but don't feel like you have to buy the most expensive prefolds to get them to work well during the day.
System #2 Fitted Diapers and Covers:
Fitted Diapers and Covers - Fitted diapers range in size from newborn through toddler sizes, and always need a cover. Fitteds are absorbent all around, not just down the middle like pockets or all in ones, and are fantastic for naptime and nighttime, also for heavy wetters. Fitteds are easily used with prefolds, as you have to use a cover for both systems, for customers using prefolds exclusively for their newborn, I advise buying 3-4 fitteds for nighttime changes. Since your newborn will continue to have bowel movements during the night for the first few weeks, you will be doing diaper changes at nighttime every 1-3 hours, just like during the day. Fastening a fitted and cover at 2 and 4 am can be a tad easier than folding a prefold, using a Snappi and then tucking the edges in a cover. You can absolutely use prefolds at night, but if there is room in the budget fitteds for nighttime can make the changes a bit easier.
Since newborns are getting changed with regular frequency, and you don't need the 8-10 hour window of mega-absorbency that an older baby or toddler would need, splurging on super absorbent fitteds may not be needed at this stage, save that diaper $$ for the bigger sizes.
Our best selling newborn fitteds are:
1. Kissaluvs fitteds
2. Sandys fitteds in size newborn
3. Thirsties duo fab fitteds (these are a stay dry fitted)
Kissaluvs will have the umbilical cord notch, but we advise not to let the lack of one stop you from using that diaper, or delay you in using cloth if you are ready to start, take a peek at our past article on umbilical notches here.
Fitteds need to be changed with the same frequency as prefolds, if you choose fitteds with natural fibers and decide you prefer a stay dry feature, they are very easy to add a stay dry fleece liner to.
System #3 Pocket Diapers and All-In-One Diapers:
Newborn Pocket Diapers and All-In-One Diapers - Now, prefolds are fantastic and definitely hold a great deal of appeal for both their cost, and their ease of customizing the fit to your baby (babies do not come out evenly proportioned, they are often chubby in some areas and skinny in others, it takes a few weeks for them to "chunk up" and even out). However, in the past few years we have seen some fantastic market improvements with newborn pockets and AIOs, for those parents who want or need a one piece system to go on and off their newborn.
Here is our list of brands and what some of the pros/cons may be, keeping in mind your experience may vary, this is what we see as the results from most of our customer base and our own personal experience:
1. Lil Joey AIOs (made by Rumparooz) and Grovia Newborn AIOs: These are great diapers for the weight ranges of 4-9 pounds, generally though if you are expecting a term newborn at 7+ pounds, these two may be ones to skip, as they are generally outgrown by the 10 pound mark, both in size and absorbency. If you are expecting a tiny newborn, twins or a preemie, they are great and will not overwhelm the baby by bulk and size.
2. Bumgenius extra small AIOs: These are great for the weight range of 7-12 pounds, giving you a little edge over the two brands above, and they are big enough to add a preemie prefold folded in half, or a thick washcloth as a doubler to boost absorbency. A true AIO that is one piece, completely enclosed.
3. Thirsties Duo AIOs: The Thirsties AIO system is a duo sized system, size one fits roughly 7-13 pounds, and has rise adjustment snaps on the outside similar to other one size pockets, covers and AIOs. The feedback on these is great, the aplix closure will give you more adjustability for a newborn than the snap closure, but overall a great customer satisfaction rate, it will be bulkier than the above options due to the adjustable sizing.
4. Swaddlebees Newborn Simplex and Blueberry Newborn Basix diapers: Blueberry and Swaddlebees are the same company, and these two diapers will be cut from the same pattern. The only difference, Basix will have a stay dry inner material, and your Simplex will have a natural birdseye cotton material. These are our "hottest" newborn diapers right now, and have been for several months. Customers love the adjustability, fit, and adorable patterns, they fit a size range of about 7-13 pounds.
5. Tiny Tush Mini Pocket Diapers: These are one of my personal favorites for a newborn. They will fit as tiny as 5 pounds, and will fit comfortably into the 14-16 pound range, giving you a lot of "bang for your buck" with newborn diapering. They come with two inserts, a towel for folding for little babies, and an insert to use with the towel for older ones. They also easily accommodate hemp inserts and other small microfiber inserts on the larger rise settings, and in total give you 4 size range settings to choose from on their snap rise adjustment on the outside. The only complaint we see, and it is few and far between, is that one smaller babies they will seem bulky, due to the size range they afford on the bigger settings.
6. Tots Bots TeenyFit AIOs: These were another fave with my last baby, they have a binky inner material, which is not a stay-dry material.. They have a good size range of about 7-13 pounds, and have a semi attached soaker. What that means, while the diaper is all one piece, the soaker will agitate out during washing and almost look like a "tail" hanging off of the end, which you have to tuck back into the little pocket opening to have it fit on your baby. These diapers also include a tiny 2-layer doubler to add extra absorbency in the optional pocket. Adorable prints and great workmanship on them.
7. Extra Small Fuzzi Bunz, also known as Preemie Fuzzi Bunz: These are sized pocket diapers with snap closure that will fit roughly 7-12 pounds. Great for tiny babies, super soft fleece inner materials for stay dry protection on your baby, and a pocket opening to accommodate a small microfiber insert. Babies tend to outgrown the rise on these diapers before the waist, so for newborns with a little belly chunk these make a great choice.
8. This brings us to our only "one size" diaper we recommend for a term newborn. Rumparooz one size pockets can and do work on 7+ pound newborns, with their double gusset system are great for newborn bowel movements, and have unique TPU material (a little different from PUL) which makes them squish down nicely on little babies. However, they will be the bulkiest option on a newborn, since they are designed to fit into 25+ pounds, but you can use them for most babies during the first year. Expect to have to purchase larger diapers for the toddler years, as most babies outgrow them between 12 and 18 months. Rumaprooz include a great insert system, which has a smaller insert for little babies, and a large one to use as a set for older babies.
How many diapers do I need? TOP
I hate to answer a question with a question, but it really depends on how often you plan to be washing, and how old your baby is. My guideline I always give to my customers is that you can ALWAYS add to your collection of diapers. Don't think that the initial investment is several hundred dollars. If you start with a few prefolds and a cover or two, and gradually add to it while you phase out disposables, it can be done very economically. You can always add to what you have, if you are in a pinch we always ship next business day so we can get items to you quickly~
For a newborn, washing every day, you need about 18-20 prefolds or fitteds, 2-4 covers, and a few Snappis if you are doing prefolds or fitteds and covers exclusively. If you are using a pocket diaper or AIO, just subtract that many fitteds or prefolds from that number. If you plan to wash diapers every two days, double those numbers :)
For an older baby, maybe 3-4 months and up, about 15-17 diapers (pockets, AIO's or prefolds/fitteds) will get you through the day with time to wash the diapers.
Toddlers need the fewest diapers, but you do need absorbant ones. 8-10 pockets, AIO's or prefolds/fitteds with a few covers will work perfectly :)
For a newborn, about 2 dozen wipes is a great place to be, for an older baby about half of that will suffice. If you are in a pinch for wipes, baby washcloths will work great as well.
That is really all you need for full-time cloth diapering. A few extras like a wetbag or two, and a pail liner or two will come in handy, but if you really need to start now, the above numbers will be a great start!
Do I really want to use cloth wipes? TOP
They are so easy and will save you money! Cloth wipes will save you lots of $$ over time, plus if you have a cloth diapering/laundry system going, you won't even notice the switch! I used disposable wipes for a while with cloth diapers, and it was a big chore. I would have to separate the wipes from the diapers before they went into the pail, and find a separate bag to wrap up the wipes in, put them in our trash can, then take them out before they got stinky. If you throw disposable wipes in your diaper pail, they disintegrate in the laundry, making a big task out of having to pick little fuzzies out of your clean diapers.
When you use cloth wipes, you just toss everything in the pail together, no sorting or touching the soiled items. Just sort them when you fold your laundry, and use them again. Some moms like to soak their wipes in various solutions, but again, I opt for the easiest option. I have a stack of cloth wipes in my diaper changing area.
Before a diaper change, I just grab a few, wet them with water, and use them. I bought a little "Huggies" wipe container, took out the disposable wipes, and just throw some cloth wipes in it to store them. Some moms use a spray bottle while changing the diaper, you can pick whichever method works for you! If you have lots of baby washcloths at the house, they make great wipes as well :)
What the heck do all of these different inserts mean? TOP
Our insert/doubler page can be overwhelming, try a little "Stuffing 101" before examining the products :)
Inserts/doublers/prefolds/stuffins are all words that mean specific items to place inside a
a. pocket diaper=for absorbancy
b. a cover=for absorbancy (NOT microfiber inserts unless below another layer of fabric, read below for why)
Generally, inserts are made of 3 different materials, either by themselves or in a combination.
1.Microfiber-the most common insert material on the market. Most "free" inserts are microfiber, the ones we carry are Wonderfulls, Thirsties, Cotton Babies, Happy Heinys, Mother of Eden, etc...They are white in color, and usually 3 layers of microfiber, a 100% polyester fabric. These inserts can be used inside a pocket diaper or underneath another insert or fabric layer in a cover. Microfiber is super absorbant, and we have heard of babies having problems with the absorbant inserts adhering to fragile skin, so we advise having another fabric between the skin of your baby and these inserts. A layer of fleece, flannel, suedecloth, anything really will work.
Microfiber inserts are quick-absorbing, and work beautifully for many customers.
2. Hemp-Joey Bunz, Thirsties, Happy Heiny Stuffins to name a few. Hemp is a great fabric, lasting forever and very absorbant. A great article on hemp fabric in diapers can be found here:
Hemp can touch the baby's skin without issue. We advise not to let your hemp inserts go more than 2 days without washing. While hemp is a favorite insert for many mamas, they can get stinky if you let them sit in urine for too long. A little detergent goes a long way with hemp~
3. Cotton- Indian prefolds, Thirsties prefolds are 100% cotton. Durable, simple, non-allergenic, gotta love 100% cotton!
Prefolds are fabulous for durability and absorbancy. A must have for any cloth diapering mama!
Make sure you check out our "nighttime diapering" article for more tips~
What diaper creams can I use with my cloth diapers? TOP
Unfortunately we have yet to encounter one single diaper cream we can safely say "across the board" will not cause any problems. Diaper creams work because they cause a barrier against wetness and your baby's skin. This causes problems with cloth diapers because they can adhere to the fabrics and cause a barrier against the diapers absorbing urine. This is referred to as "buildup".
But, there are some ways around this:
What we recommend, is the fleece liner system, or flannel liner if your baby is allergic to fleece, to use any cream you wish with your diapers. We do sell fleece liners, but you can make them for pennies (flannel, too). At your nearest fabric store, get a yard or so of fleece or flannel, and cut into rectangles to fit your diapers. Fleece doesn't need to be sewn on the edges, flannel does because it frays. Make a bunch, about two dozen. Put the cream directly on these liners, against your baby's skin. Keep a grocery bag or wet bag handy just for these liners once they are used, don't mix them with the rest of your diaper laundry. Wash seperately from the diapers, so the creams don't rinse off in the wash cycle and adhere to your diapers~
After about a week, check the liners. If they are slimy, stained and smelly, continue using this system, or try another cream to test. If they are washing clean, it is safe for your diapers :)
Nighttime Diapering 101 TOP
So you have gotten a good handle on cloth diapering, have your shopping list all ready to go, maybe even check out some cloth diapering online forums. Then, you notice some mamas talking about difficulties with nighttime diapering. Nighttime diapering? You mean there is a totally different system for when Mr Moon comes out?
Well, yes and no~
Newborn diapering is the same round the clock, for most babies. For at least the first few weeks, the little guys are pooping around the clock, so those diapers get changed at nighttime just like the daytime hours. But then, that little lumpy newborn gets a bit older, stops having a bowel movement at night, and you are greeted with your first 3 hour stretch of sleep and awake to...a leaky sleeper.
Time to upgrade your nighttime system!
The most common e-mail from customers on nighttime diapering is:
My baby wakes up crying because he is soaking wet!
Check the insert of the diaper. If you are using prefolds, is it saturated? If so, time to upgrade. Add a hemp joey bunz underneath, or maybe it is time to get a bigger prefold.
Insert not wet? Possibly a fit issue. Is the cover snug around the legs? Is the waistline too low? Fit issues tend to be very specific, shoot me an e-mail at AbbysLane@aol.com with the issue, I know I can help :)
Here are a few tips we can offer based on ages of your child. Now, ages are a very general way to break it down, but we feel it is more accurate than weight, since a 12 pound baby could be a newborn (don't laugh, my darling husband was 12 pounds at BIRTH, you may send a Mother's Day card to my mother in law for that one, e-mail me for her address-LOL) or it could be a 4 month old, but both will have very different nighttime patterns.
From birth to 6 weeks: Those little baby nuggets are still busy a-pooping at all hours of the night. Nighttime changes are like daytime changes, pick a user-friendly fitted or pocket for changes at 2,3 and 4, and don't worry, it gets better soon.
2-6 months-they have stopped pooping, but are still eating at night (for some of you this may go on for the next two years). If you are using natural fibers, like a prefold or an organic fitted, if you are noticing redness in the morning, consider a stay-dry liner to keep the wetness off of their skin. If you want to stick to natural fibers, you may find a nighttime change helpful to keep that redness away. Some mamas are passionate about changing the baby several times a night to prevent the baby from sitting in urine, but many feel a sleeping baby is vital to everyone's sanity, so definitely employ whatever method you can to make baby feel comfy. At this point, absorbency needs are creeping up, if you are using pockets, consider switching out your microfiber inserts for a trifolded prefold at this point, either the infant or regular size, depending on the size of your diaper.
6 months to a year-Pocket diaper users find a combo of a prefold, or a prefold with a joey bunz insert great for meeting nighttime needs. Absorbency is key here, and the older babies can be very heavy wetters. Prefold/fitted users may find a hemp doubler or even two in the prefold or fitted provides the extra boost.
12 months to 2 years-Yes, they have a bladder the size of a racehorse. My favorite pocket combo for this age range, a prefold trifolded, sandiwiched between two joey bunz hemp inserts. Some other favorite pockets combos are: Prefolds wrapped with a microfiber towel, a Happy Heiny Stuffin with a microfiber towel trifolded on top, A Loopy Do Insert on top of a trifolded prefold. Fitteds mamas may need a super-absorbent prefold (like the Swaddlebees One Size Organic Fitteds) are needed, and may add a hemp insert with it.
2 years + -toddlers can swing either way here. Those potty training early may start actually waking up with very light diapers, they are holding it more at night and flooding that first morning diaper. For the rest of us, we are waking up at 1 am with our child crying in a swimming pool of urine. This is when I pull out the big guns. My second daughter is the absolute heaviest wetter I could dream up. We are fond of pockets, so I would stuff a Happy Heiny pocket with a trifolded premium prefold, two joey bunz hemp inserts, and then pull a Disana wool cover over the whole contraption. It is absolutely flawless. If you are using pockets, the wool cover on top will not cook your baby, wool is 100% breatheable, but perfect for catching those last-minute leaks that heavy wetting toddler will provide. Fitteds/prefolds users, check into the Disana covers as well, absorbency underneath is still key ( Swaddlebees one size OV fitteds), but those wool covers are unbeatable.
What other equipment do I need? TOP
Once you decide on which system to go with (or a combination of both), and purchase your diapers, Snappis (if you are using the cover/prefold system), and inserts, you need very little additional equiptment. A pail I have used for years and love is below:
It is a "dry" pail, meaning it has no water in it to soak the soiled diapers. Some prefer a "wet" pail with a water-solution in it, but they are
-a drowning hazard
-a bacterial hazard
-messy and stinky
-Lord help you if you drop it carrying it to your washer. Although if you want new carpet this is a good way to get it done
You will want a reusable bag liner to store the soiled diapers in, actually, you will want a few of these. Lastly, you may want to use cloth wipes and a natural deoderizer for your bathroom, pail or diaper changing area, if neccessary. I keep a little potpourri burner in my house, so we have never had any odors.
Diaper Rash 101 TOP
Rashes happen, even in the child who has the diaper changed incredibly frequently, fed the healthiest of solids and/or breastmilk, bathed regularly and in a clean environment. Teething, illness, new solids, heat, allergies, yeast from mom being on antibiotics, new detergents, all of these things can cause a rash. Here is a little "rash 101" (and I am not a doctor by any means, just a mama with 3 girls who have all had various rashes and trouble shooting with customers frequently, if the rash is bad, see a doctor, don't hesitate to get help with anything that causes your baby pain!)
-The most frequent rash babies will get is a reaction to new foods. The biggest irritants tend to be acidy foods (oranges, tomatoes), but cow dairy, wheat, any food irritant will usually cause redness and possibly blisters around the anus when the child has a bowel movement. thi is also common when the child is starting solids. It is usually just around the rectum, not on the entire diaper area.
-Teething can cause horrific diarrhea and stools that seem to burn the child coming out. This rash can be more spread out, and the child really can experience pain when passing the movement.
-Yeast is usually raw and blistery, all over the diaper area. Cracked and very dry looking skin is common, possibly even white centers in the blisters.
-Staph is typically pimples on the diaper area, filled with either white or green pus, with a pink circle around the pimple and possibly very hard feeling under the skin.
-Detergent rashes, if mild, usually present as a general redness wherever the diaper touches. Severe detergent reactions can produce very red skin, and quickly, possibly blisters. A severe reaction usually occurs within an hour of having the diaper on.
-If the child is sensitive to wetness, if you are using prefolds or fitteds without fleece liners, will start as a general redness and the skin can get very deep-red in the cracks of the skin. The child will flinch when the diaper is changed, you may notice the skin shedding after a few days if it isn't treated.
-If the child has a fleece/polyester allergy (this is very, very rare, many moms we talk to usually discover the irritant was something else, but this condition does exist), reactions have been a general redness to immediate blistering and deep red skin.
-Heat rash is usually redness with tiny red blisters (no white centers), and goes away if the child has breatheable diapers on or is changed more frequently.
Consult your physician if your methods of treating aren't helping, in the case of Staph or yeast, you will need to treat your diapers with a disinfectant to make sure it doesn't keep recurring. Yeast can be tough to deal with, but you can disinfect your diapers. Please e-mail me at Abbyslane@aol.com if you have this occur, we can discuss ways to safely do this depending on the diapers you have.
A note on "my diapers are leaking so I need to strip them" TOP
I just want to address an issue for many of our customers already into cloth diapering :)
It seems very popular now that if a diaper is leaking, meaning a cover, pocket diaper or an AIO, that the first step seems to be to "strip" it. Not the kind that starts with red wine and Barry Manilow, but the kind that uses Dawn dish soap, a toothbrush and very hot water on your diapers. The idea is that detergent residue is built up on your diapers, repelling the urine and it leaks onto the clothing.
BEFORE you strip your diapers, answer these questions:
-Does the diaper leak immediately, meaning within the first 10 minutes, or does at least an hour or so go by before it leaks?
-Does it leak around the legs or the very front of the waist?
-When you take it off, is the insert at all wet, or if you do fitteds/prefolds and covers, are they wet?
If you answered "no, yes and yes", don't strip your diapers. If they are truly repelling, they will leak immediately, not absorb any urine and leak all over, including the back. The key here is absorbency, absorbency, absorbency.
THE EXCEPTION HERE:DIAPER CREAMS. IF YOU ARE USING DIAPER CREAMS BUILDUP CAN HAPPEN QUICKLY, e-mail me on suggestions to fix this
Many customers underestimate the need for good absorbency. A 9 month old in a single microfiber insert isn't going to last all night, an 11 month old in a microfiber insert in a pocket isn't going to last for a daytime nap. My favorite and EASY way, before going through all of the work of stripping, is to buy a prefold (if you need help picking a size, e-mail me at Abbyslane@aol.com), for less than $3.00, prep it, trifold it like a business letter and use it inside your pocket diaper. I can almost guarantee (almost is the key word here) your leaking will be solved. It takes a LOT of wrong washing and odd detergents to cause true buildup bad enough to repel. If you are using AIOs, most only have a 3-layer microfiber soaker sewn in. This is not enough absorbency for most older babies and toddlers for extended periods of time. You need to lay in a hemp insert or change more frequently to make this work for you. If you are using prefolds/fitteds and covers, and your cover is leaking, how wet is the prefold? It may be time for an absorbency upgrade. Stripping be can be incredibly frustrating, it is work, it takes time and resources, and if the problem is absorbency it won't help a thing :) If you need more assistance with this, or you think you have true detertgent buildup, give me a holler at Abbyslane@aol.com
How do I care for my wool? TOP
From our newsletter:
Wool is really very easy to care for, I am going to outline my very easy, no fuss wool care washing system.
-First, do all of your wool washing outside of your sink. You don't
want lanolin in your pipes, look at it in the cooled version, and
imagine it sitting in your drain. Use a rubbermaid basin, an old pitcher
with a wide opening, a metal baking tin, sometimes I used a cake pan,
easy to wash and it wouldn't absorb the wool care products (be careful
using anything plastic, the scents or your wool care products will soak
-Fill your container with warm water, and about a tablespoon of liquid wool wash (CJs is fantastic, you can use Eucalan, in a pinch liquid dish soap will do, but on a regular basis this can really wear on the wool fibers). If you are using a bar, you will scrub the wool lightly all over after you wet it. Compress the soaker into the solution, and let sit for about a minute, swishing it with your hand to work the water/soap into the soaker.
-Have an old towel nearby, take the soaker out and lay it in the towel. Roll the towel up, and press on it, don't wring it, but press it to compress the water out.
-Dump your first basin outside, and refill with new warm water
-Take a coffee mug, microwave it full of water for about a minute
IF USING LIQUID LANOLIN:
-When you take it out, squirt about 2 pea sized drops of lanolin in it, or Lansinoh, and mix it up quickly with a fork or knife. This is really the only part that you have to move quickly, you have to dissolve the lanolin and use it fast, or it will reclump back up as it cools.
-Pour the coffee mug into the basin, and quickly press your soaker down into it. Gently swish it around in the basin, then let it sit a minute
IF USING A WOOL REVITALIZER, LIKE CJ'S
-Spray the revitalizer in the "wet zone", specifically right in the crotch from front to back, flip inside out and spray as well
-Repeat the towel trick, compress the water out, and hang to dry.
-Toss the basin water/lanolin outside, and allow the soaker to dry a day or two.
During the winter, I have mine in my laundry room so it doesn't freeze, if you have a really large soaker, or longies, lay them flat to dry instead of hanging to preserve their shape. If you need a wool soaker overnight, get two so one can dry while you use the second.
This whole process takes maybe 5 minutes to do, and is really very easy to get the hang of. As some of my babies became lighter wetters at night, I would skip lanolizing altogether. Wool is super absorbent on its own, so you can see if you really need to lanolize your wool if you have good absorbency underneath.
A few notes on cloth "Trainers" and potty training~ TOP
This is an excerpt from a newsletter entry, 5/09/2008:
Our second daughter, Camille, just potty trained this week (so I am down to one in diapers-yeah!) Our first daughter went straight from her Happy Heinys to the potty in about a week. Camille has taken about 8 months-LOL-and did use trainers in the interim. Trainers aren't a necessity at all, and some children won't even bother with them if you try. Trainers don't initiate potty training, this is all up to the child. I get frustrated e-mails from mamas of 2, 3 and 4 year olds who are upset the trainers aren't increasing their child's drive to use the potty. For trainers to help, your child has to really be motivated to train, and have the communication skills to understand this function of his/her body. The big "pros" for trainers are:
-They help the baby feel the wetness, if you are using stay-dry diapers the child doesn't have that cue from the diapers.|
-The are more like "underwear" and a bit trimmer
-They are only made to hold one urination
-If your child could care less about feeling wet, they won't be bothered at all by the trainer to use the potty.
If your child has had successful catches on the potty, and the communication skills are present to talk about the process, maybe try one for daytime use. See how your child reacts, if he/she will urinate in it as freely as a diaper, and not care if he/she feels wet, the readiness may not be there yet. If he/she wets and gets excited about using the potty, or holds the urine enough to run to the potty, then trainers might aid the process.
For Abby, she was verbal enough and excited enough about wearing underwear, she wanted nothing that resembled a diaper (in other words, a piece of cake I am sure I will never see again)
For Camille, she could care less if she felt wetness, but she loved her animal print Imse Vimse trainers so much she hated to pee on them and have them changed-LOL-so she eventually would get to the potty and go so she could keep it on like underwear. Now, this truly has been a 8 month process, so trainers at the beginning of this process were pointless, she would pee straight through them and care less. Before investing in a bunch, try one and see how your child reacts.
Honestly, from talking with customers and friends, we see *most* girls training close to three, boys closer to age 4. That is only daytime training, naptime and nighttime can take a year or more to accomplish. Potty training can be a rollar coaster of trial and error, but thinking of what I will be worrying about when they are teenagers, I will take an accident on the carpet any day of the week!
I need some more help :) TOP
Feel free to contact me with any other particular questions you may have. I would love to help convince you that cloth diapering is the best choice for you and your baby, and any way I can help, I will :)
Abbyslane@aol.com, I check it many times a day~
A great book to assist in any cloth diapering search is "The Do-It Yourself Cloth Diapering Handbook", any question you will ever have about cloth diapering is answered here :)
All About Potty Training TOP
Getting Started Potty Training
Starting with little ones on their way out of diapers. Whether they are 12 months, 18 months, 2, 3, 4 or 5, they are all on their way out of the cloth diapers we love to put them in. We get lots of emails about “when?!?!?!?” When do you know it is time?
Our information is going to concentrate on children who are not challenged by physical or emotional hindrances, those children need extra time and attention, and while I am more than happy to help, you may need advice outside of my realm of experience. Email me at AbbysLane@aol.com with questions.
I always knew my babies were ready to start potty training when I noticed dryness in the diapers over periods of time. Whether they woke up from naptime dry, or I went to change them around the hour mark and the diaper was still not wet at all, this is an indication of muscle and bladder control, and also shows some communication between physical control and the neurological process that says "hold this in" rather than "let it out in tiny spurts".
Usually you'll notice this starts at around a year to 18 months. We tend to find that boys take longer in general, you may notice a difference in your daughter's training earlier than your sons. You truly can start “training” well before this.
Where and how to start?
When they are old enough to walk and start following you everywhere, take them in the bathroom with you when you have to go. By this point it certainly isn’t the oddest thing you have done as a parent (you mean I get to shower all by myself? What a treat! LOL), and it won’t be the last. Make it a cheerful, happy thing. “Oh look, mommy/daddy goes pee pee, yeah!” They will see the bathroom as a cheerful place, a place to celebrate what you are doing. It really sets the mood for later. They also see liquid coming out of you as a good thing, and won’t be freaked out when they see it coming out of them in places they never knew existed before. I mean really, if you looked in the mirror and saw water pouring out of your ear, you would be a little weirded out, no? Before they are talking they will hear the words you will use later, "pee pee" and "poo poo" will make sense when it is their turn.
So, they see you going, they are intrigued, they want to do it. You are going to have thousands of “dry runs” before the real deal starts. A good time to actually put them on the potty? Before bathtime!
The sounds of water rushing around always made mine want to go. Just a habit to start, just plop them on while getting the bath ready. If it is too much for them, no biggie, they aren’t ready yet. Even if they just sit there for a second and smile, you are training. Training isn’t the results, it is the process, so make it fun and take a deep breath.
Another great time, first thing in the morning. Even if that diaper is full and you know they went all night, make it a part of your morning ritual. When they are sitting on the same place they see you go, and see what is supposed to happen, if they are ready they will start to follow suit.
We'll also delve into some further steps in the process, including using wetness cues to determine readiness for bladder control, but use the above tips to see where you are in the process to start.
Cloth Training Pants
The reusable trainers we sell at Abby's Lane are intended for children who are right on the cusp of training and just need a wetness cue to stop the stream and finish in the toilet, or for those times when they are trained and you are going to be in the car or plane for several hours and don’t want to miss those first drops on a full bladder.
You can always try one trainer to see, you will likely find use for it on those first few car trips out of the house with underwear, but try one first before investing in several. See how the child reacts and then go from there.
Now, of course, there are those of you reading this who will disagree with trainers being a motivator, and there will always be those exceptions. For the majority of our customers we find the above to be true to form, so if you still want to try one, just do try one, and see what cues you are returned with.
If your child has been day trained for a few months and still has nighttime wetting, try something to see where they are. Lay a natural fiber inside the diaper, so it provides a wetness cue. It can be a hemp insert, a wipe, a prefold, anything that isn’t stay dry or microfiber. See how your child does, if she wakes up due to the wetness enough to call you and finish urinating on the toilet, you may have a case for a few trainers to provide a different feel than a diaper. If she pees through and doesn’t wake, she will leak out of the trainers, so don’t bother with them yet.
If your child needs the absorbency of a diaper and doesn’t respond to wetness cues, they are likely to still need an actual diaper. Taking them to the potty before they go to bed will help, for some of our children (every years after they “trained”) when my husband and myself go to bed several hours after they do, we take them as well so they can sleep into the morning hours without having to wake up to wet sheets. If you notice your child is dry most of the night but wakes up with an accident in the early hours of the morning that may be a good option as well. So, if they go to bed at 7/8 pm, and you go to bed 11/midnight, take them to the toilet.
As always, if you have a questions please don't hesitate to email us.
Menstrual Alternatives TOP
Although not a "cloth" 101 question, this is a topic we get frequently, so here are some excerpts from our newsletter:
For Diaper Chatter this week, we are starting with our chapters on menstrual alternatives. Today we are talking about Sea Sponges:
Next week we chat about the Diva Cup, which was my first device after the use of many years of tampons. Sea Sponges have become my preferred method since the birth of my second daughter. I can still use the Diva, but here is why I like the sponges better:
-They are very easy to use. No adjusting to get it in the right spot, if you push them in as high as you can, you get a perfect fit every time. They are soft, absorbent, and conform to your body. There is no suction keeping them in place, so there is no seeping around the sides that can occur. Like any of these devices, use a backup pantyliner when trying them out and at nighttime to collect any overflow than they can handle.
No risk of TSS, no dioxins to carry any harmful after effects, no bleached paper products that dry out your vagina.
For those who use tampons exclusively, how nice would it be to:
-Be able to insert something early so you don't have to worry about the "when" of your cycle catching you off guard in the mall with 2 kids in tow? Especially for that first post partum period that you never see coming? Now, picture being able to have that protection with out the horrid dry feeling of pulling out a dry tampon to change it when your cycle starts not on cue. That scratchy, skin-pulling feeling that stings after that tampon is removed, knowing you have pulled on your internal skin to get it out.
-Not have to worry about finding a trash can to dispose of tampons in. Especially at friends or family's houses, when you don't know when they will take out their bathroom trash, and you leave behind embarrassing odors. Or, in your own house not having to worry about taking out the empty trashcan just to throw away one tampon?
-Saving $$ over disposable products
-Protecting your health, and mother earth with the lack of more disposable products.
-Having to leave in that last tampon and pulling it off barely used, encountering the same pain and discomfort as the first tampon of the cycle.
-That great feeling of having a huge bulging tampon in on your heaviest day
-Many women confirm their cramps are LESSENED by sea sponges, when you have a non-drying device in place, your body isn't working so hard to discharge it, This isn't the case for all women, but isn't it worth a try?
Sponges, I have found, are cleaner than tampons. I could never use tampons with completely "clean" hands 100% of the time, since you wash your hands anyway after using a tampon, wash your sponge with them!
In public, carry a water bottle in your purse with you, rinse them out as best you can, wash fully when you get home. Caught without a water bottle? Squeeze out as best you can, reinsert and clean later. I have a very heavy flow for the first 3 days, and I clean my sponges every 3 hours during the day with no problems, and use a panty liner at night to protect myself.
Really, for the price you have to give them a try. One sponge can be reused for 3-6 cycles, just wash thoroughly with hydrogen peroxide in between cycles. A 2 pack that comes with them lasts you for 6-12 cycles, They are worth a try, if you are open to giving them a shot, now is a great time :)
Email me with any questions, nothing is "TMI", and I am very passionate about helping you find a safe and comfortable alternative to your cycle.
Have a beautiful weekend!
This week we are chatting about the Diva Cup, which in a funny note is out of stock until early next week, we will put them in when the shipment arrives and begin shipping once we resume after the 20...
I used and adored the Diva Cup after my first daughter (a cesarean delivery). It is very tidy, a little silicone cup that is inserted in your vagina, held in place by your vaginal muscles and collects your menstrual flow. It is to be emptied 3-5 times a day, in a public restroom you can dump it out and reinsert, at home you wash it with regular handsoap and reinsert. There is a bit of a learning curve to using it, I will go over below how I recommend to start with it to new users. Once you get the hang of it, it is a handy and completely comfortable way to work around your period.
My second daughter was a forceps vaginal delivery. It was some time before I could use the Diva again, it was during this time I discovered sea sponges, which are much more forgiving for weak vaginal tone. Once enough time had passed, I was able to use the Diva with ease. After "easy" (no interventions) vaginal birth number two for baby number three, the Diva didn't take as long to get back enough tone for, but I had really grown to love the sea sponges, and after now vaginal birth number 3 for baby number 4, the sponges are all I use.
That being said, had I never had the damage from birth number two, I would still be a fervent user of the Diva. It requires less removal, and lasts for 10+ years versus buying new sponges from time to time. Ifthe device intrigues you, here is how we advise to use it. I go into somewhat graphic detail here, these are the questions that go through your head when deciding whether or not to use the product, so they do need to be addressed.
When you get the Diva the first time, I always advise inserting it in the shower. You are more relaxed, and it is generally easier (unless your toddler hops in with you-LOL). Also, use some personal lubricant the first time, it really does make it eaiser to find where you will wear it. You fold the Diva into fourths, once in half, then pinching the sides again. The best way to sit when inserting it the first time is sitting on the floor with your feet up a bit (on the wall or shower door if you can, when you are out of the shower doing this, putting your feet up on the toilet while sitting on the floor works well), almost in the birthing position if you can picture stirrups where your feet are. Now, bear down with your vaginal muscles, this will extend everything and make it easier to get it in the right place. When you insert the Diva, point it down. In this sitting/feet up position, don't point it back and don't point it up. Pointing it down will aim it towards your natural curve of your vagina. Push it as far in as comfortable.and then release your muscles, relaxing your "bear down" position. I have not found a need with most customers to twist or turn the cup to open it, this is an optional step. If you feel it, it is not in the right place. There should be no discomfort at all when doing normal activities. You can trim the stem of it (I do advice this, but be very careful not to cut too close to the bottom or you will snip a hole in it and it will be useless).
To remove it, simply bear down again, pinch the bottom of the cup to release the gentle suction and pull it out. It is very normal to have some "seeping" during your heavy flow times. I say seeping rather than leaking, because the cup isn't overflowing or not doing its job, it is just a matter of gravity and your internal curves that make it hard to catch everything coming around the sides. You don't want an airtight menstrual device, like a tampon, that is how bacteria can grow and you run into health problems. I do advise wearing a backup pad for those heavy days for this seeping.
On various days throughout your period, you will find you have to wear your Diva higher or lower. Your cervix is the reason for this, as during your cycle it will rise and fall. When it sits lower, your Diva will need to sit lower, as your cervix will put pressure towards the top of your vagina and the Diva will need to sit lower. When your cervix is higher it can be worn higher.
It cannot get lost, most discomfort comes from wearing it too low, don't be afraid to put it up higher. Women with prolapsed uterus, IUDs and other medical or health situations should not use the Diva cup, as it does create a gentle suction in addition to being held in place by vaginal muscles.
A great resource is the Diva site, www.DivaCup.com, and also feel free to email me at AbbysLane@aol.com with any questions :)