Archive for July, 2022

July 4, 2022

My Experience Cloth Diapering

I wanted to use cloth diapers for my babies, particularly while living in Congo, because there is no infrastructure to dispose of solid waste. After having my firstborn Moses I did a lot of research into cloth diapering, but never had the chance to take it on fully as we did not find cloth diapers in Congo. A friend in Uganda bought three or four covers and ten inserts for us that I used with Moses starting at one month old, but by the time he was three months, he would leak constantly. The diapers were a cheap brand and not absorbent enough and the covers not well fitted and so I had to leave cloth diapering behind until I could get better ones and more of them.

A few years later when I was pregnant with Sarah and in Canada for an extended visit, I started researching again. The challenge this time was that we didn’t have the hundreds of dollars needed to buy good quality cloth diapers new. So I started scanning Facebook market place and Kijiji for used options. I came across a post on Kijiji for someone selling 50 flat cotton flannel diapers and several Kushies diaper covers for only $55. I had never considered going with flat diapers before but this was such a good deal that I started doing more research about it. The more I researched, the more I concluded that flat diapers were actually a better option for doing cloth diapering in Congo for several reasons:

  • The waterproof cover can be reused several times before washing because the flat diaper is not inserted into a pocket. It is important to have a good quality cover and I can say that the Kushie diaper wraps work great.
  • The flat diapers are easier to wash by hand and dry fast on the line because they are a single piece of cotton flannel that doesn’t have funny seams or sewn layers that are harder to clean.
  • It is easy to adjust the diapering based on absorbency needs by changing the fold
  • The cloth can be used for something else if/when done being used as diapers. Since I didn’t need all 50 flat diapers, I cut some of them into 4 squares to use as face clothes and another few into 9 squares to use as cloth wipes.

Flat diapers pose two challenges:

  • The first challenge is to learn how to fold the flat diapers. After some research I came across the Happy Anteater fold which I adopted as my default fold. I learned this fold from the Simply Mom Bailey blog. Go there and check it out as I see no need to reproduce the same content. I had to develop the habit of folding the diapers like I fold my clothes before I put them away on the shelf so that when it is time to change a diaper, it is ready to go. This folding technique has served me wonderfully with Sarah and I have had no problems with leakage except when I wait far too long to make a change. I find the folding to be a relaxing and satisfying activity in my day.
  • The second challenge with flat diapers is how to fasten them. The flat diapers I purchased came with several safety pins, but I wanted to see if there were any other products out there to make it easier. My research led me to a product called Snappi that are a faster and safer alternative to safety pins that grab the fabric with teeth that are attached to three stretchy bands. Snappi’s were apparently invented by a South African dad which is cool. I decided to order them and give them a try. I find they do not grab the fabric of my cotton diapers very easily because the fabric has a tight weave. I think that they would work better with diapers that have a more open weave. Nevertheless, they still work with a bit of manipulation and are easier than safety pins which also don’t pierce my fabric diapers easily. They have an infant size and toddler size and can be found on Amazon.

Cloth diapering is not for the faint of heart. It requires you to change your baby more frequently including at night, and washing the the diapers takes work especially if you are like me and don’t have a washing machine. I have still found it to be worth it for the money savings and not producing bags and bags of garbage. If you do decide to pursue cloth diapering, here are three final recommendations:

  • I encourage you to go all the way and use cloth wipes as well. Since you are already washing the diapers, you will hardly notice adding a few cloths to the mix. With Moses I made a wipe solution from distilled water, shampoo, and coconut oil, but this time around I have only made the cloth damp with water and have had no issues with diaper rash. I just make sure to bath Sarah regularly.
  • In my research I have learned that it is not recommended to use petroleum jelly or standard diaper cremes when using cloth diapers as it gets into the fibres and reduces the absorbency of the cloth. I have not experienced diaper rash yet with Sarah but keep hearing that coconut oil works well.
  • If you do decide to pursue cloth diapering, I recommend doing it at the same time as Elimination Communication (EC). It is about learning your baby’s cues and putting them on the toilet as early as newborn age but whenever you want to start. I decided to start EC with Sarah at 4 months when she could sit up on her own and when she started solids and it has greatly reduced the number of poopy diapers that I have to wash which is probably the worst part about cloth diapering. I am convinced that EC is the secret that disposable diaper companies don’t want people to know about! As this post is long enough, I am going to write about my experience with EC in a second upcoming post.

I hope that this post gives you some helpful tips for cloth diapering. I wanted to share from my experience because I benefited so much from others who have done the same! Happy diapering!

July 2, 2022

Ukuaji Startup Accelerator – Reciprocal Exchange

Ukuaji Startup Accelerator is an organization that Othy has launched to support and grow Congolese businesses and entrepreneurs. On June first Ukuaji hosted a seminar to present and share about the training that a small cohort of engineers received in Solidworks through a month-long program that was funded by Reciprocal Exchange and done in partnership with the University of Notre Dame Ideas Lab.

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July 2, 2022

Sarah at Seven Months

This month Sarah has her first three chompers (and is not afraid to use them on Mama)! This made her extra fussy and had her waking up more often during the night. Her hair is growing fast and is long enough that I decided to try out some pigtails. When she gives a full blown smile she pulls her nose up and sometimes sniffles. I call it her snarky smile and can’t get enough of it!

Future Turkish Airlines pilot XP
July 2, 2022

Protected: Your Seventh Month 2.0

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