The Inside Scoop! The Skinny on Laundry

I don't know if you know this, but there is a lady over at Bummis who I like to call the cloth diaper laundry whisperer. Seriously, she knows her stuff inside and out, and I often say I wish I could bottle her knowledge up! So everyone, please join me in saying hello to Shirley (hello Shirley!).

We know so many of our customers struggle with hard water conditions. And the minerals in hard water can lead to premature wear and tear on diapers. Short of installing a water softener, there isn't much that can be permanently done to affect your water. If you do want a trick to combat those pesky minerals - check out Calgon (look for it at your grocer's). Calgon, added to the wash cycle, will bind to the minerals and help your detergent work more efficiently. There will still be some mineral deposits from the rinse cycle, but not nearly as many.

Did you know there are other ways you can help your diapers live a long and happy life? Check out these four Red Flags.

Cloth Diaper Laundry Routine Red Flags:
  • Diaper Laundry Delay - Waiting to wash too long between laundry days - the microbes will start to eat the natural fibers - optimal timing is to wash every other day. 
  • Bleach - Oxygen (aka Oxiclean and its like), chlorine or otherwise - weakens fibers. Did you also know? Oxygen bleach not thoroughly rinsed out will again weaken fibers once the diapers are put in the dryer.
  • Heavy Agitation - The more the fibers rub against each other, the more weakening will occur. Avoid the 'heavy agitation' cycle on your machine. 
  • Overdrying - In other words, drying the fibers past the point where there isn't any moisture left to come out. Try to line dry when possible. And, if you will use the dryer, use a low heat setting and remove diapers as soon as they are dry.
Just one of the above will cause diapers to wear out before their time (along with the usual suspects: soaking, too high of heat in the washer/dryer). Two, three or all four of the above? Yes, your diapers are going to look old far before their time.



Belated News: Peachy Green!

Peachy Green News!

If you've ever had a chance to flip through the blog, or been around for a while, you likely know my love of Peachy Green diapers runs deep. Really deep. Like, I'll tell anyone who will listen deep. Read more on the deep-seated love here

Well, in mid-2012 we started to have conversations about possibly acquiring Peachy Green (!!!) and by Christmas it was all figured out. To sit on the news for almost three months until the official acquisition date of March 20th was terribly hard. Just ask the ladies who work at our shop - I practically stopped talking about Peachy Green completely. I was so afraid I was going to spill the beans (promise to anyone who has told me a secret, I am an amazing secret keeper when they are others' secrets - my own - well I get a really funny guilty/fish-face/giggling-thing and it just deteriorates from there until I spill, so I just avoid the subject instead).

So it is official, Itsy Bitsy Bums now owns a diaper brand. A long-time goal realized. Having worked in sourcing, and fashion, and diapers, it really brings all my worlds together! 

What is means?

Party with US!
A few spots online you might want to check out:
Peachy Green Diapers Facebook don't miss the photo contest on now through April 25th!
The Peaches a spot to hang out with fellow Peachy Green addicts

Dawn, Original Lady Behind Peachy Green
Dawn is still living in St Louis and works on her other business, Diaper Sewing Supplies. For a long time Peachy Green and DSS existed side-by-side, so that is why you'll see some familiar prints over there. If you know (or are) a home-sewer, check out what she has to offer! She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to these materials.

The Sewing Facility
Located in central MO (convenient, no? halfway between Dawn and IBB), will remain the same. For those who have asked if I'll be sewing the diapers, first, you are too kind. I have no domestic skills to speak of. Also of note, Dawn has been using this facility since 2008, so the brand has long roots with these sewers! We had a chance to tour the facility, and I'm so impressed with their production.

The Patterns
We are keeping all of the Peachy Green designs and adding some more! Stay tuned for what is to come. We have heard your requests and have some ideas of our own up our sleeves.

Learning Curve
At the shop, when demo'ing Peachy Green, I'd often say: 'One thing that Dawn does so well...' in reference to the trim fit, or how the leg casings are sewn, etc. And now my employees will interrupt with an 'ahem ::throat clear:: ahem Abby, what you do so well.' LOL. Still learning! These diapers are still Dawn's diaper in design, but it now has the Abby stamp on it as well.

Fabulous Retailers
Some have asked if we'll be bringing PG in house as a private brand. Nope! We have fabulous retailers all over the world (yes, the Peachy Green love is worldwide!). Once production gets up and running with the next collection, we will be accepting more wholesale accounts.

We will be handling all warranty claims. If there are any issues, please contact us at peachygreendiapers at gmail dot com. We are working hard to make sure nothing is lost in the transition, and please bear with us through these growing pains. If you have any questions about your diaper, please contact us and we will get it figured out!

Right now the Peachy Green website is still the same, if you've ever poked around over there. Over the next weeks we will be transitioning it to a new platform. Ideally these changes will be barely noticeable from your end, but if the site suddenly has gone MIA, don't worry! The diapers are still there, just floating suspended in the interwebz.

If there is anything I missed, feel free to email me at peachygreendiapers at gmail dot com. A note - this is a temporary address as we get our new website site up. Once that is done we'll have a more official means for contact.


fair warning - this post is going to get very introspective, feel free to skip over if you prefer the fluffier side of Itsy Bitsy Bums

#gettingtoknowIBB: this is the hashtag on several of my Instagram posts these days - aka - a way to get to know IBB outside of just our diapering moments. 

#fibromyalgiastinks: this is the other hashtag you will see from time to time - aka - my body is fighting itself.

#fibromyalgiastinks #gettingtoknowIBB #sbish #brookeside
 In reality, Fibromyalgia is just the tip of the iceberg. I've up to seven auto-immune issues on my list (health care professionals tend to listen to my medical history with wide eyes). To say it has been a very challenging six and a half years for me is kind of an understatement. Actually, I don't know if 'challenging' is even the appropriate word. I wish I could really list it out, without it seeming like I'm starting to write a thesaurus. An attempt? Challenging, interesting, exhausting, mind-numbing, soul-sucking, soul-searching, maddening, questioning, fulfilling, heartbreaking, core-shaking.... honestly, there aren't enough words, or even adequate words.

The quick version - October 2006 - I went from a perfectly healthy graduate student just starting my studies at the University of Kansas to a 26yo woman paralyzed in a hospital bed. Paralyzed. Just not the kind of thing you ever expect to experience in your life. (More on that here). But the paralysis was temporary, and I've since relearned to walk, talk and appear to be a normal person. Supposedly I'll still make a full recovery, the doctors say, but after almost seven years, it comes a point when you want to scream (upon initial diagnosis they said two years for a full recovery, though more recent research suggests five to ten years; come find me in 2016, I guess?).

Every single day I wake up trying to gauge what my day will be like. Good pain day? Bad pain day? How's the fatigue? If my daughter begs 'pick me up!,' can I? For every step forward, there are ten back: for every advance in my recovery, just when it seems like I'm on a roll, my body says 'haha, not so fast, sucker, take this.' And I'm left trying to figure things out all over again.

The last couple of years seemed to be on a pretty good upswing, slow and steady, slow and steady, getting better. Better to the point I felt like I could start committing to things outside of our home's four walls - I opened our storefront! I even bought a cloth diaper company - Peachy Green (yes, another blog post begging to be written!). And then my body said 'haha, hold it, lady.' And threw me the worst curveball I've had in a while. A long while.

For the last month I've returned to a point where my focus is basic care: shower (sitting on the floor because I cannot stand that long), manage the online business from bed (while my amazing team runs the physical side of things), trying to parent from the couch. I just sit here shaking my head at it. Seriously. I have to do this again? This cannot be happening, there is too much to not be able to work the usual 14-hour day.

But here's where it gets really introspective.

I'm still here. It could have been so much worse. As far as neurological issues get, GBS is kind of one the better options. I don't know how close to death I actually was, and I don't know that I really want to know, but it felt awfully close. I'm here to hold my daughter, to be with my husband, keep ticking off my goals from the very long list of what I want out of life. So the last month has kicked me in the rear. I just took twenty steps back, but I'm getting up. And I'm not going to let this hold me back. 

I've been back at my usual table at the coffee shop today, getting back to my usual 100wpm-self. It feels really, really, really good. To the point there aren't sufficient words to describe how much better today feels. Though, Wilson Phillips is belting 'Hold On' on my radio right now, and it seems to sum it up pretty well. 'Things will go your way, if you hold on for one more day.' My new anthem: keep holding on, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep believing, and I will come out of this a stronger person.



AppleCheeks Giveaway Details

It's an AppleCheeks Giveaway!

What? Not one but TWO AppleCheeks MicroTerry Starter Kits (each valued $115) are up for grabs

When? All AppleCheeks purchases now through April 30th - Two winners will be chosen at random (literally, at random.org) and announced on May 1st.

Who? Well your fabulous self, of course

How? Simple!
  • Spend $20 on AppleCheeks products and you are entered. 
Say what?
  • Yes, spend $40 and get two entries. 
  • Yes, spend $60 and get three entries. 
  • Yes... you get the idea.
  • In short, we'll take the dollar total of your order's AppleCheeks items, and divide that total by 20. Rounded down, that number gives you your total entries. Like examples? $68 worth of AppleCheeks gets you three entries. $99 worth of AppleCheeks gets you four entries - whereas $100 worth of AppleCheeks gets you five. We will not be fudging on this one. Our elves are already going to be very busy!

Fine Print and Other Important Info
  • This promo cannot be combined with any other specials or giveaways. 
  • You can order as many times as you like through the promo (and please do come back and see us when the promo has ended). But, orders will not be combined to bank additional entries. 
  • Itsy Bitsy Bums ships to United States (inc. APO) addresses only. 
  • Winners names' will be submitted to AppleCheeks who will shout your lucky-duck-ness from the rooftops, and they will also be shipping the prize to you.


Come Find us on Instagram!

Are you on Intsagram? Come find us @ itsybitsybums! We have a pretty good time over there.


Quick 101: Diaper Laundry Troubleshooting

Over time I've had a chance to talk a lot of laundry! 

When troubleshooting stink issues, there are three key questions I always cover with people.* If one of these is lacking, ding-ding-winner-winner-chicken-dinner, we've (almost always**) found our culprit.

Yup, asterisks.
*These three questions presume you are using a good detergent, are already following our recommended wash routine, and are disposing of the poop properly.
**Just like everything in cloth diapering, it is subjective. These three metrics are the most common areas to consider. There can also be issues with allergies, food sensitivities, skin issues, etc.

Questions to ask Yourself - 

Q. Is your first cycle long enough?
Why are we asking this? The first cycle of your wash routine is what is giving your diaper their heavy-duty rinse. If this cycle is too short, or skipped completely, the hot wash+detergent isn't going to work. Want affirmation? Take a look inside your washing machine during the first wash cycle. You are going to see three shades of nasty in there. Now imagine if that was your only wash cycle, and there was detergent trying to get things clean in the midst of all that urine (and EBF poop, if you are still at that age).

A year ago or so, the trend of doing a warm wash cycle instead of cold wash started to take on - the theory being that urine leaves the body at a warm temperature, so a warm rinse will more effectively remove it. I haven't heard enough from customers to support this change, so we still recommend a cold wash to save on energy costs. If the warm wash is working for you, great! Like I mentioned earlier, washing diapers is quite subjective!

Q. Are you using enough detergent? 
Yes, there are so many conventional detergents out there that require you to use more than you actually need, which is why you will find the recommendation to use less than their box or bottle advises. However, it has gotten to the point where I'm seeing recommendations for a teaspoon, or half a tablespoon. Folks, you do need some detergent! And the harder the water, the more detergent you are going to need. Strip your diapers to give them a solid rinse, then experiment with using more detergent in your hot wash cycle.

Q. Are you doing an extra rinse at the end? 
And not just that rinse that your machine does at the end of your hot wash cycle, but an extra rinse after that? This is what is going to get out the last of the detergent. If you are using a detergent with brighteners of scents (in other words, additives that are designed to stick around after you've washed your clothing), you have to work especially hard to rinse out everything. If your baby has skin of steel, or you've found what I call the 'sweet spot' of detergent amount - just enough to get the diapers clean, but not so much as to requiring an extra rinse - then you might be able to skip this. But if you have a water-stingy HE machine, a baby with extra sensitive skin, hard water or a detergent that doesn't rinse cleanly, well, this extra rinse might be just the thing that solves your laundry frustrations.

Two closing thoughts -
1. All of the above assumes that your washing machine isn't water stingy. Most people with HE-washing machines need to spend a few minutes searching online. If you Google your machine's model + cloth diapers, you will likely find someone else has already done the work for you, finding just the trick to make that HE machine fill up with as much water as possible.

2. Want to geek out more on diaper washing? Check out this post from Bummis (known in the industry for their laundry expertise!)

Thanks folks!