Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Next Thing for Cloth Diapers?

I've been starting to prepare for show season -- the time of year through spring and summer when we at Two Little Whales and Punkernoodle Baby do green and baby shows. It's a fun time, because we get to talk to lots and lots of new and about-to-be parents about cloth diapers and other green parenting issues. We sell diapers at shows, but the much more important goal is education and advocacy. Some parents have heard about cloth diapering and want to know how much money they can save, or they want to get into the nitty gritty about carbon footprints (fun!!), or they simply want to put their hands on a modern cloth diaper and see what's out there beyond flat cotton and plastic pants (so much!!). Other parents had never even considered cloth, and they leave a show committed to use it after talking to and learning from us. SO COOL!

And thinking about show season got me thinking about what's next for cloth diapers? Cloth diapering has been going mainstream the past few years, and now you can even find a couple brands in big discount stores and groceries (though no one there to help you use, care for and troubleshoot with them).

So what is next? Pocket diapers have become soooo popular, and most companies over the past 18 months have crowded into the one-size diaper market. There's still room for innovation on that front -- room to solve common problems like Velcro wear, bulk, newborn sizing, and stink issues. But is that the end of the trend? The last stop on the diaper train?

I don't think so. One thing I wonder about is how to move the discussion and use of cloth diapers into even more environmentally friendly ground. I love that more and more parents are choosing cloth instead of disposables filled with chemical gels, which do not decompose in our landfills and take precious resources -- and a lot of pollution -- to produce.

But if I am honest with myself, I can see that most modern cloth diapers are not perfect in terms of their impact on the planet. Or for the health of our babies, perhaps.

Cloth diapering has been made so easy because of fabrics like PUL (polyurethane laminate), which keeps leaks in, comes in adorable colors and prints, and can withstand years of home washing routine.

But many modern cloth diapers are still manufactured with chemicals, contain plastic and synthetic materials such as polyester, and DO have an impact on our carbon footprint with regard to manufacture. These fabrics have been found to be perfectly safe for babies! Cloth diapers are now tested more stringently than ever in the U.S. under the new CPSIA law. Parents should feel as secure putting their child in a PUL pocket diaper or cover as they do putting on a nighttime fleece sleeper. But are they the best for our planet? The health of our Earth also impacts the health of our children!

Ideally, in my opinion, the safest, most environmentally and health conscious diapers are of natural fibers harvested organically, safely, either in the U.S. for a lower transportation impact, or elsewhere but still with strict oversight to make sure that the natural resources are being harvested ethically, fairly and greenly, and that they are being replenished. And that those harvesting and making diapers are being paid fairly and treated humanely.

This means organic cotton diapers, hemp or bamboo harvested in the right way, and wool covers, preferably organic wool.

Can most parents get hip to that? I don't know. It's a mental jump, one that we should be making when considering the source of all our fibers, not just diapers. Sure, a cotton diaper and wool cover might not be as "easy" or self-explanatory as a PUL one-size pocket with a polyester inner. But it has great benefits -- less chance of stink, possibly more economical, simple, customizable, easy to clean.

And, most likely, better for our planet. Food -- or fiber -- for thought.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wet Happened Stocked!

We just stocked some adorable new prints of Wet Happened wet bags in the shop. I LOVE these wet bags! As a first-time cloth diapering mom, I originally thought they were just for carrying my baby's dirty diapers in when I was out and about. It's true, they are great for that - I actually have kep 2 bags with me in my diaper bag, one for clean cloth diapers and the other to put dirty ones in once I do a diaper change. The bags come in Medium and Large, are waterproof and smell-proof, and I love how they keep the diaper bag neat and organized...

But now I've discovered that these Wet Happened wet bags are good for SO MANY more things than just carrying dirty cloth diapers! I use one for our swimsuits when we go to the pool - I just wring out the suits after the kids are out of them and through them into the wet bag. I use the small sized wet bags to organize toys and crayons and even snacks when we're on the go. I pack a little one with activities for each kid before heading out to a restaurant or to somewhere boring like the doctor's office.

My husband even uses one for his stinky gym clothes after he runs on his lunch break at work. And I use one for my yoga class. And finally, when my daughters got new dolls for the holidays, I bought one from the shop to stuff all the tiny doll clothes in - they know that when they're done playing with all those little dresses and booties, into the wet bag they go. I think I might be a little addicted to them :) I just adore the gorgeous modern prints and how clean and neat they keep everything. Plus, because they are made for use with cloth so they just last and last no matter how many times I wash it or how hard we abuse it!
Check out Wet Happened prints HERE!

Monday, December 28, 2009

What Are The Best Newborn Cloth Diapers?

Occasionally I will write a post here answering a common customer questions I get at the shop. Today a very nice young couple came in looking for information about cloth diapers in preparation for their newborn, expected in about a month. They were a typical Seattle couple - very hip and cool looking, with their first baby due practically any moment yet exhibiting a relaxed certainty about wanting to use cloth. Oh, and they knew very little about the many styles of diapers they have to chose from. And did I mention how relaxed and not stressed they were?!

I took them through the range of modern cloth diapers. They asked some good questions. Then, when we had gotten to the end of the official tutorial, the dad-to-be asked me what, if I had another baby right now, would I pick for my newborn?

Tough question, but a good one. From my perspective, the two easiest, safest, most cost-effective cloth diaper systems for newborns right now are 1) Prefolds and covers (preferably Thirsties Duo Wraps) or 2) A set of Fuzzi Bunz One-Size Pocket Diapers.

Chinese prefolds are often the go-to diaper for newborns because they are cheap (less than $1.75 for a newborn diaper when you buy a package). This means you can afford a big stack, and that comes in handy when that precious little bundle needs 12-15 diapers a day (no, I am not lying). You can buy a 36-pack of newborn prefolds for $57.25 - around the cost of 1 pack of disposables! And prefolds are pretty simple - just fold in three and lay inside a good cover (you don't usually need complicated folds or fasteners for newborns). And because your newborn pees and poops so often, you will change them frequently anyway so the absorbency level of a cotton prefold is fine.

The key to success with prefolds is to have good covers! You need to keep explosive messes in, where they belong. Soooo...you need double leg gussets! Thirsties Duo Wraps are a fabulous waterproof newborn cover: Size 1 adjusts from XS to Small so it fits from birth to about 9 months old, giving you a good bang for your buck. You can use each wrap for about 3 changes before you They are super light and pliable, so no loud crunching noises during changes to wake up your sleeping newborn in the middle of the night. They are breathable, soft, easy to Velcro closed and have a nice cut-out for the umbilical stump.

Thirsties Duo Wraps also work beautifully on top of a Thirsties Fab Fitted in XS if you want to get a superb diaper with a little more absorbency than a prefold, along with a Velcro closure and elasticized legs. Thirsties Fab Fitteds have an amazingly cozy fit for newborns and really hold everything in. Plus the fleece lining keeps that new butt nice and dry!

Then, on the other end of the diapering spectrum, is the Fuzzi Bunz One-Size. There are so many reasons why I think this is a fabulous newborn cloth diaper. First, it adjusts from birth to potty-size through an elastic in the leg gusset (plus one across the back of the diaper), thereby avoiding the extra bulk a lot of other one-size diapers have when they adjust with rise snaps. These are one of the few one-size diapers that actually fit a newborn! I love the snaps on this diaper because they last forever and look so clean and neat. The fleece lining keeps baby's skin dry, cutting down on rashes for babies with sensitive skin (like mine). After you get into the habit of stuffing the pocket as soon as your diapers come out of the laundry, it is so simple to just pull a clean Fuzzi Bunz from the waiting stack and put it on. And in terms of cost, if you sit down and crunch the numbers, you will save a ton of money with these because you will buy one set and use it the whole time your child is in diapers! It costs $538 for a 30-pack of Fuzzi Bunz One Pocket Diapers (a 2.5 - 3-day supply). That's the same cost as 5 months of disposables, for 3+ years of cloth!!

So there you have it, my top Newborn recommendations. As you build your stash, you will add things that can make diapering even easier and more versatile, but these are the good bones you can begin with.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grand Re-Opening and free Thirsties, Knickernappies and BabyLegs!

Two Little Whales is celebrating its Grand Re-Opening!

In honor of the shop being open and the holidays, we are giving away free goodies with orders!
  • All orders over $50 will be receiving a special free gift while our supplies last: Orders $50-$100 will receive a pair of BabyLegs, and orders $100-$200 will receive a free cozy eco-fleece blanket. Orders over $200 will receive a free pocket diaper and insert! (Please indicate size in Checkout comments).

  • All Thirsties Duo Diaper Packages of 12 diapers or more will automatically receive a FREE Duo Diaper! This is a great way to dive in with this super adjustable, super absorbent new cloth diaper from Thirsties. The Duo Diaper is awesome for newborns all the way to toddlers!

  • All Knickernappies OneSize Diaper packages of 12 diapers or more will automatically receive a FREE Knickernappies OneSize diaper! Baker's Dozen! We are loving this trim one-size pocket around here - it is a great nighttime diaper, and great fitting under baby cloth during the daytime!

See our Specials Page for these Deals, and enjoy! We welcome you to the new Two Little Whales and thank you for supporting a family business!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Favorite Cloth Diapers...

After 4 years of cloth diapering, it is so hard to list my favorite diapers, although customers ask me this all the time. It's probably the most common question I get asked!

With the grand re-opening of Two Little Whales, and some of the changes we've been making and thinking about, I've been mulling favorite cloth diapers quite a bit...

I'm thrilled to say that at Two Little Whales, 3 of my all-time favorites will be stocked in both singles and packages regularly: Fuzzi Bunz One-Size Pocket Diapers, Knickernappies OneSize Diaper and Bottombumpers!

My affair with Fuzzi Bunz goes way back to the birth of my first daughter - their sized diapers were the first cloth diapers we ever used! I loved how trim they fit, and the bulletproof absorbency they offered us. With the release of the newest version of their One-Size pocket in 2009, Fuzzi Bunz did what I thought wasn't possible -- made their diaper better! This diaper truly fits birth-potty (it gets down tiny for newborns) and avoids the added bulk of many one-size diapers by adjusting through an ingenious leg elastic with buttons, instead of with a snap-down rise. No fold-over! These diapers stand the test of time, the snaps stay shiny and perfect for years, they are stretchy and trim and classicly cute. They are a BRAND NEW offering at TLW - enjoy!!

Knickernappies Onesize is one of the best new diapers to come out recently. You can tell already that I love snap cloth diapers. Well, I really really love side-snap diapers! Side snap for baby is like a good pair of jeans for mommy: it trims, it snugs, it just creates that lovely little flat front that fits well into your cute baby clothes. This diaper just looks great on, and the snug fit keeps everything in where it belongs. I also adore Knickernappies loopy-do and super-do night inserts (gotta love that hemp) and those pair perfectly with the OneSize.

Finally, Bottombumpers are one of my favorite ways to get a perfectly sized fit AND the fun of a unique custom option -- embroidery! I indulged in some of these All-in-Ones because I wanted to mix and match my snap color and diaper color and create a one-of-a-kind cloth diaper by adding embroidery. I fell in love not only with the look but with the amazing fit and absorbency of Bottombumpers' organic cotton lining and snapi-in soaker topped with bamboo velour. I now love their simple solids colors, too -- the perfect nighttime and daytime cloth diaper.

What are your favorites?

I hope you enjoy my favorites as much as we have!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Hello friends of Two Little Whales!

My name is Natalie, and I am so happy to say that I, along with my husband and two little girls, am the new owner of Two Little Whales. In this post I want to introduce myself as well as mention some of the plans - including NEW PRODUCTS! - for Two Little Whales.

Rachel is practically a neighbor of mine - my family lives in Seattle. I am a work-at-home-mom and run another diaper shop, Punkernoodle Baby, which I opened about 2 years ago. I feel strongly that as parents we should do everything we can to leave a clean planet for our children, and I consider it my privilege to help address environmental problems by spreading the word about cloth diapers. My hubby is green to the core, and I learn a little bit more every day about how to leave a better footprint on our Earth.

I also know what it's like to raise a family on a limited income, and I am passionate about cloth diapering because it saves parents so much money - money that can better put to use elsewhere. I truly believe if every parent in America just tried cloth diapering, we would have a major shift and disposables would be out of business!

Now about Two Little Whales. What a beautiful little shop! I plan to continue the wonderful customer service and personal help and caring Rachel has put into her store all this time - helping parents is one of the most satisfying things for me. You can expect to see most policies and approaches stay exactly the same!

I plan to continue carrying most of the products in Two Little Whales as well as add some exciting new ones. Look for one of the most-loved diaper brands, and one that I have used faithfully with both my girls, to be stocked for our grand re-opening in the next couple of weeks: Fuzzi Bunz!!!

I also plan to add the most economical diapering option of all - prefolds - and Thirsties covers and Duo Wraps to match.

By now, some loyal customers are into the potty-learning stage, so we will be adding some great cloth trainer options, including Snap EZ training pants.

I also have a personal addiction to wool, so I plan to add some wonderful wool products as well, to help keep babies snug in winter and stretch your dollars even farther.

Thanks to all the loyal friends who have kept with Two Little Whales - I hope to meet/hear from you soon and keep you up to date through this blog. As a side note, I also am a writer and sometimes will blog about natural parenting topics that will hopefully be fun reads for all you like-minded families.

Rachel - enjoy your special time with your family, it is well deserved!

Natalie Velush

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Change Of Ownership

I'm excited to announce that while I am taking a break from the Work At Home Mom world, Two Little Whales is here to stay!

A new owner will be taking over in the next few weeks!

The site is temporarily closed to orders as we transition.

I am confident that you will receive the same great customer service, and high quality cloth diapering products.

You will also see some great NEW cloth diapers and accessories being offered.

Join the mailing list to be informed of the Grand Re-Opening.