Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bummas "The Wild Ones" Cloth Wipes Review & GIVEAWAY!

There has been an evolution of wipes in our household.  When my son was born, we used disposable diapers, and disposable wipes.  Once he grew big enough to fit into the Kushies AIOs we had at the time, we switched to cloth diapers, and homemade disposable wipes (paper towel & homemade mix of distilled water, lotion, and baby wash).  We soon got tired of the inevitable crisis whenever we ran out of homemade wipes, because the middle of a baby poop emergency is totally not the time to start making a new batch of wipes.  Plus, with the money we were saving on diapers, I figured that having to buy wipes every now and then was not the end of the world.  So we went back to disposable wipes.  It drove me bananas every time I opened the washing machine and found little specks of disposable wipes all over the diapers in the wash.  I mean, it's so easy and second nature to roll up the dirty diaper, stuffing the wipes inside.  Plus, the garbage can got kind of nasty where it was full of used wipes that were not contained by disposable diapers.  I thought there had to be a better way, but honestly it never occurred to me that CLOTH WIPES were the answer.

Thankfully this time around, I had the brilliant realization that cloth wipes were a much more reasonable solution.  You have to wash the diapers anyways, and instinctively, you put the dirty wipes in the diapers, so why not cloth wipes?  They go in with the regular diaper loads of laundry, and don't require any special treatment.  There are several options for when you use them - the easiest is to run them under the tap when you need them.  For the upcoming winter, I have opted to dampen them in advance and store in a wipes warmer.  Others use a wipes solution in a spray bottle and spray it on baby or wipe at change time.  The wipes I have been using are basic handmade squares of double layered flannel serged together.  I made them from a stack of old receiving blankets I had kicking around in the baby-stuff-I-saved-for-our-second bin.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive a package of Bummas in the mail to test out for this blog.  They have been #1 in my rotation since I got them.  Made of a single layer of cotton velour fabric, they are velvety soft on one side, and terry-cloth textured on the other side.  This makes them perfect to clean up big messes and small ones.  I was surprised at the size of them, 5" x 7", which I thought would be too small to do the job well.  However, they seem to be just right.  They basically cover my palm & fingers, so I can use them terry side out for bigger messes, and do a final cleanup by folding in half and using the soft velour side to get any remaining mess.  I wet them before use, and wring them out, so they are damp but not dripping wet.  So, I don't have any issues with moisture on baby's bum before applying her diaper.  However, Bummas wipes are also excellent for drying off baby's bum if you had to use wetter wipes to get things clean.  I agree with one of the cute sayings on their eco-friendly minimal packaging that states: "After the wipe and before the dipe, use a soft kiss of cloth to dry bums off."  I also got a kick out of some of the other rhymes on there, such as "Avert the squirt", since, according to their website, one Bummas wipe can absorb an entire pee - this would have been great when my boy was in diapers...

The wipes have held up very well, going through my usual diaper laundry routine of soak/wash/rinse/rinse and line dry (or occasionally in the dryer) without any ill effects.  They have not shrunk or frayed AT ALL, which I'm impressed with because I am ALWAYS re-edging my homemade wipes because the corner where the serged edges meet is always fraying on those.  Bummas wipes are also great to use as facecloths, cleaning up after mealtime, or wiping a runny nose.  They also say on their packaging that they could be used as burp cloths, but I don't think that would work well for my little one because when she spits up, it tends to be an epic affair that goes from my shoulder to my elbow (and often ends up splatting on my hips, thighs, or calves, depending on how I'm standing or sitting).  So for now, I'll stick to burping with a receiving blanket.  If your little one doesn't spit up much though, using a Bummas for a burp cloth would definitely cut down on the bulk of cloth you would need to carry around with you in your diaper bag.

Bummas wipes come in 4 adorable colour combinations - the fabric is white cotton-woven terry velour, and the serged edges are done using bright beautiful colours.  They used to have different colour fabrics and different coloured edges but it seems they are phasing this out on their site.  They now have a "The Boys" set which is edged in shades of blue and green, a "The Girls" set that is edged in shades of pink and purple, a "The Calm Ones" set edged in shades of orange, brown, and green, and finally the "The Wild Ones" edged in ten different random shades of every colour under the rainbow.  They are sold in sets of 10, and each set sells for $16.99.  They ship worldwide, and accept paypal, so if you're reading this, you can buy them!  Check out for more pictures and information on their wipes.

Great news!  Bummas has agreed to sponsor a giveaway right here on Geekmommy Reviews, with the prize being your very own 10 pack of Bummas wipes!  To enter, you must visit the Bummas page on Facebook and "Like" them, then comment back here that you did so.  Be sure to include your name on Facebook and your email address in your comment so that I can contact you when you win!

You can earn up to 3 extra entries by:
  1. Liking "Geekmommy Reviews" on Facebook and telling me you did this in the comments (be sure to let me know your name on Facebook)
  2. Following @geekmommyreview on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway (be sure to link to the tweet in the comments)
  3. Following this blog on Google Friend Connect and telling me you did this in the comments
Winner will be drawn on Friday October 7th, 2011 using  Your odds of winning obviously depend on number of entries received.

*Disclaimer:  Geekmommy Reviews was given free of charge the product(s) to review in exchange for featuring this product on  Any opinions or statements given above come only from Geekmommy Reviews and were not influenced in any way by the product vendor.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Infantino EcoSash Wrap & Tie Carrier

After my review of the Moby Wrap, it should come as no surprise to you that I enjoy babywearing.  Or, should I say, I enjoy the freedom it gives me.  Freedom from having a heavy carseat tugging at my arm sockets.  Freedom from having to balance a baby on one hip while reaching for a cup of coffee with my free arm (and then attempting to drink said coffee without baby splashing it all over both of us with her endlessly waving arms).  Freedom to shop at Costco without having to leave the baby in her carseat on the "Carts" side of the checkout.

I have heard many great things about the Ergo baby carrier, and had the opportunity to take it for a test drive with my little girl last month as my sister let me try hers out.  This isn't an Ergo review (since I don't own one, I am not going to consider myself qualified to review it) but there were a handful of thoughts that came to mind when I used it.  First of all, I really liked the support around the waist/hips.  And the fabric was really nice and soft (she has the ERGObaby Black Sport Carrier).  So I got my daughter adjusted in the front carry, I had the padded shoulder straps over my shoulders, and then - I had to get my sister to close the buckle.  I don't know about you, but I don't always run around with an assistant.  Unless you could count my 4 year old, which I don't, because if I'd asked him to close a buckle on the Ergo he'd probably answer by saying something like "rawrrrr, I'm pretending to be a spike-o-saurus" and headbutting my hip.  And I'd be left trying to safely buckle in a squirmy baby in a parking lot by taking both hands off her and reaching over my head and ... ouch.  My neck and back hurt just thinking about it.

I love the Moby Wrap because it's so simple.  One knot, and you're done.  I just wanted something like that, only with a little less fabric to deal with.  So I went to a local store that carried a number of babywearing options, and tried out several different styles of carriers.  I tried the BabyHawk Mei Tai (loved it, but they only had one in stock and I didn't like the fabric), another very soft similar style carrier, the brand of which I cannot recall right now (loved how small it folded up, it would literally fit into my coat pocket, but did not like that the straps had no padding), and finally the Infantino EcoSash Wrap & Tie Carrier.  It was packaged up in its own carrying/laundering bag made of a black mesh, so I did have to dismantle the packaging to try it on.  Thankfully the store owner was OK with this.

I love how there are no buckles to fuss with, but the carrier still feels somewhat structured.  It has a reversible front fabric panel (goes from modern abstract vines to plain black, in case I have to make my husband wear it somewhere) and two loops into which to thread the shoulder straps to facilitate an easy back carry (or to make the front carry a bit more secure by ensuring the straps coming from behind you stay in place around the height of baby's torso.  The EcoSash actually has the wearing instructions printed on satiny soft panels so that you don't always need the book in front of you (when you are starting out, use the book.  Once you are adept at wearing it, you won't really need the instructions in either place.  You double-knot the shorter straps around your waist, then hold baby in front of you, lift the front part, long straps go over shoulders, criss-cross behind you, feed through the front loops on left & right, then double-knot in the front.  The shoulder straps are padded and so are quite comfortable even after a few hours of wearing with an 18lb baby in it (I haven't worn it for longer than that, so I can't comment what it would be like to wear all day).  I do wish that the waist straps were either padded or stiffened in some way, because even though they are nice and wide, they do just sort of bunch together after being knotted around my squishy middle section (AKA waist).

The carrier is also baby approved, she is warm and comfortable in it, and apparently sucking/chewing on the shoulder straps is a fun and tasty way to pass the time.  She also loves being able to look right up at me, and to look around at everything going on, especially when we are out shopping.  I love that when she is in the baby carrier, random strangers are less likely to touch her than when she's in her carseat (although, random strangers' children are not shy at all about holding her hands, which dangle out of the sides of the carrier most of the time...).

I have not yet laundered my carrier, and since it is a deep black colour, I will likely wash it on its own the first time, maybe with an old cloth tossed in to see if it stains other clothes.  It does come with its own mesh bag for laundering, so that is a nice feature.  I can just imagine what fun it would be to have to untangle all 4 straps from my old school top loader's agitator...*shudder*.  If I find any major issues after laundering I will be sure to update here.

**Updated**, so I laundered the Infantino EcoSash Wrap & Tie Carrier a couple of days ago, in the mesh bag that comes with it.  It washed just fine, and did not stain my other clothes (granted, I washed it with all my "dark" delicates,  I wouldn't throw it in with anything white or light coloured).  I must not have tied the mesh bag tightly enough, because the straps did work their way out of the top opening and snaked around my top loader, though they did not actually get tangled with anything.  I had to hang it up to dry, and we've been having awful wet weather here, so it's day two of indoor hanging to dry, and it's still a bit damp.  It says explicitly not to put it in the dryer though, so I will just try and be patient while it dries (and use my Moby wrap in the meantime).

If you want to learn more about the Infantino EcoSash Wrap & Tie Carrier, check out the product page on Infantino's website.  You can also read more here on Step2's website.  It sells for anywhere between $60 and $80 depending on where you shop.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Handy Mommy - Restringing a Patio Umbrella

I suppose by now, if you've been a regular reader, you probably know I'm a bit on the cheap side.  My husband will tell you I've relented a bit since the days when we were pinching pennies to pay off our (small) wedding and related expenses - I no longer call him to question that $3.65 debit charge five minutes after it shows up on the online banking page...  However, I don't like spending money when I don't have to (that frees up the cash for fun impulse purchases, right?).

2 weeks ago, our patio umbrella gave up the ghost.  The timing was impeccable, I went to crank it open just hours before a neighbourhood BBQ/party at our house.  And it didn't go.  The crank spun but the umbrella canopy went nowhere.  I actually missed getting bonked in the head with the arms.  But mostly my mind was racing along thinking "WTF, umbrella, of ALL the days to die, why today when I have SO much other stuff to prepare before the invasion of friends & family???"

So I did what any self respecting handy mommy would do - I took the damn thing apart.  I patched it together with some nylon string, and put it back together.  Except I might have messed it up a bit... it was open, but it wouldn't close.  Oops.  But good enough for party day.  (Ironically, the party ended up on my back patio area and didn't venture onto the deck AT ALL.  The umbrella was totally unused.)

A few days later after seeing the poor thing open most of the way and beaten up by the wind, I took pity and decided to try again.  I did manage to fix it completely, and thought I'd share here how that went*, because when *I* ran to Google to help me solve this problem, yeah, there wasn't a whole lot out there.

Number one is that you'll want to take a look at the string you can see up near the top of the umbrella.  Now you'll want to go out and buy that exact string, or the closest thing you can find to it.  Diameter is the most important thing (so it fits into the pulleys and doesn't jam up the crank wind up mechanism).  Also important is that the rope be NOT STRETCHY.  Mine is kind of stretchy.  So I end up with free-wheeling crank mechanism for a moment after it's cranked open all the way.  That shit hurts when it hits your hand!

Step two is to take things apart.  I suspect that every umbrella is a bit different so for purposes of this blog post, you should know that ours is one that stands in the middle of the table, and has a single adjustable hinge about 3/4 of the way up.  It has a manual crank that you wind clockwise to open, counter-clockwise to close (although after having taken it apart, I realize that the direction you turn it is irrelevant - one way will open it, the other will close it).  A few tips on dissembly:
The plastic rings on top & bottom come off, then the two
halves come apart neatly.
  • The crank area is a good spot to start.  It will either be held together with a couple of screws or it will have a plastic cover on it.  Mine had a 2 piece plastic cover that was held on with plastic rings on either end.  Use a small flat screwdriver to pry the plastic rings up and off the cover, then pull apart the two cover halves.
  • Take apart the crank itself.  In my case this meant to take off the nut, 2 washers, spring, and contoured spacer (and not in that order, either).  Lay the pieces somewhere safe (ie, where your four year old won't grab them and ask "what's this for?") so that you don't forget the order they belong in.  This part is important later for when you put things back together...
  • When you pull out the crank it might not be super easy, because there's some string there that will get in your way.  This is the string you're replacing, so don't fret if it rips on the way out.  It's only going in the trash anyhow.
  • Take apart the hinge - mine used a 6 sided allen key (if you have any little handyman tool set it should contain a variety of these - find the right size by trial and error) to remove the screw that holds the hinge together.  Be careful, as the umbrella stem will come apart after you do this step.
Now for the re-stringing.  You'll want a nice long piece of rope.  Don't cut it til the very last step.  Otherwise you may very well end up with my original issue of an umbrella that won't close.  Untie the old rope at the top of the umbrella.  Tie the new rope to the old rope and pull the old rope through the stem to thread it.  You may need some special finagling to thread the stem from hinge to crank (I used a thin piece of nylon string to pull the larger rope through, and a pair of needlenose pliers to extract the end of it).  Pull it back and forth a couple times to make sure it runs smoothly over the pulley at the top.

Put the hinge back together.  At this point you may notice you threaded the rope down the wrong side of the bottom half of the stem.  Whoops.  If that's the case (50/50 chance, right?) re-thread that part.  Otherwise your rope will get tangled in the hinge and best case, it won't work right.  Worst case?  The rope may fray & rip at the hinge, smacking you or someone else in the head with an umbrella arm next time you're all enjoying mojitos and BBQ.

Knot that I don't remember the name of...
Now for the knots.  Big shoutout to my dad for the sailing lessons he paid for and encouraged me to take when I was a teen.  If you didn't have the chance to do this, go online and search for how to tie knots.  Find one that won't slip.  If I'd paid more attention in class I could tell you the name of it but instead I'll show you a picture of my finished product.  Then *close the umbrella* and cut the rope so there are 4-6 inches sticking out of the hole where the crank goes.  That closing part is important because without it, your umbrella will open, but not close when it's done.  Open it again and thread and tie the freshly cut end of the rope to the crank shaft.  You may want to slightly melt the cut end with a match (but for goodness sake, don't set things on fire.  Easy does it.)  Make the knot small but sturdy (two half hitches is what I went with, hope that holds up).  Small is key because you'll have to fiddle with the rope, knot(s) and crank to get them all to go through the tiny hole in the umbrella stem.

I have no advice for pushing all that stuff back into the umbrella stem, just take a few deep breaths, and don't give up.  Also maybe make sure the kids aren't within earshot because you WILL be cursing before you succeed.  Once you finally succeed, pat yourself on the back and reassemble the crank with the spacer, washers, spring (in the order you took them off!).  Put the cover together and then test it out.

If you've done everything right, you now have a fully functional patio umbrella again (for the low low cost of a bit of rope), plus you can totally brag to your friends about having done this all. by. yourself.  Or, I suppose, you can send this post to your husband and have HIM do the work, but where's the fun glory in that?  Also, if everything fails and your umbrella still doesn't work by the time you're done, you can probably repurpose the rope for something else, and get yourself a new patio umbrella.  It's not like that wasn't an option right from the start.

* I am in NO way taking responsibility for any mishaps you encounter while attempting to follow my instructions.  I am not an expert on umbrella repair, and if you don't feel comfortable taking on this task, then don't!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Laundry Tarts

What's powdery, white, made in Canada, smells delicious, and got the funky smell right out of my daughter's cloth diapers?   It's a magnificent new all-natural laundry detergent from The Laundry Tarts.  With delicious flavours scents such as Key Lime Pie, Black Forest Cake, and Oatmeal Almond, it's hard to believe you're not supposed to just spoon this stuff into a bowl for dessert.  I received two sample bags of The Laundry Tarts detergent from Monkey Doodlez, one Key Lime Pie, one Pina Colada (thank you!).  The first thing I noticed when I opened the shipping envelope was the lovely scent wafting up to meet my nose.  I'm not talking about anything strong or overpowering, rather, it was more of a subtle scent, clean and fresh, but not artificial or perfumey.  That's probably because the entire bag of laundry detergent contains only natural ingredients - there is nothing artificial about it.  The entire product line of detergent, stain remover, and shaker is (to quote their website) "hypoallergenic, 100% vegan and free of phosphates, EDTA, pthalates, parabens, SLS, SLES, nitrates, sulphites and chlorine".  Try saying that five times fast!  The ingredient list is shorter than you could even imagine, consisting mainly of baking soda, soda wash, powdered hydrogen peroxide, and sea salt.  Throw in some rosemary extract, saponified canola & coconut oils, and essential oils (for fragrance), and you've got yourself a bag of detergent.  It's safe for your clothes, your skin, and the environment.

I was at first skeptical about using this detergent with my daughter's cloth diapers.  As you can read in previous posts, I launder her pocket diapers & liners every 3 days, using EcoNuts, cold soak, hot wash, and double cold rinse, then I hang them to dry.  They have always come out clean, but often they smell a little funky.  On occasion, I can chalk this up to FORGETTING to toss in the bag of EcoNuts after the soak cycle (shame on me!), other times I have blamed my timing - I tend to do the soak/wash/rinse before bed, and the 2nd rinse the next morning, before hanging them out.  I figured that leaving them in the washer overnight is what caused them to sometimes pick up a funky smell.  However, it seems I might be wrong about that - after checking on The Laundry Tarts' website to make certain the detergent is safe for cloth diapers (it totally is), I followed the same process (using 3 tablespoons for my old school top loading washer) and found that the entire load of diapers smelled really fresh and clean the next morning when I was hanging them out.  Note that they did NOT smell of fragrance, artificial perfumes, or funk.  They just smelled clean.  After hanging them out to dry, I took them in and thought they looked even whiter than usual, and they were SO FREAKING SOFT - perhaps the sea salt in the detergent helped with that?  I continued to use the diapers on my daughter and there were no unusual effects, rashes, etc, that sometimes happen when switching detergents.  I'm sure she'll be thrilled when she grows up that I used her as a diaper detergent guinea pig.

I also tried using the detergent with a load of dark laundry, to make sure it rinsed clean (it did, even with a very full load of laundry, a cold wash cycle, and only a single rinse).  It even worked on my delicates and hand-wash items.  Which I wash in my machine on the delicate cycle, because honestly, is a mom supposed to have time to hand wash anything??  After washing a load of towels & facecloths with The Laundry Tarts detergent, I did one of those goofy comparisons like they used to do in fabric softener commercials... I stacked up 5 baby facecloths that were previously laundered (probably with EcoNuts), and 5 that were laundered using The Laundry Tarts, and sure enough, the stack laundered with The Laundry Tarts was taller.  I probably should have taken a photo (oops) but didn't think of it.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

Now taller stacks of facecloths are not usually a reason for me to choose one detergent over another.  But I have to say that the ability of The Laundry Tarts to brighten my diaper laundry, rinse out clean, and leave them smelling fresh instead of funky, is enough to make me want to buy a big ol' bag of this stuff. I will probably re-purpose an old measuring cup to work as a scoop for the detergent, because as of right now, it does not come with its own measuring scoop.  They recommend using 2-4 tbsp per load (half that for HE machines) so you do need to be able to get the right amount out of the bag and into your machine.  I just used one of my kitchen tablespoons for testing the samples, but when it becomes a permanent fixture in my laundry room, I would want a dedicated scoop.

If you love the fact that The Laundry Tarts detergent is all-natural, made in Canada, and (most importantly) great at getting your laundry clean, then you should also know that they have generously offered a discount code for15% off all Laundry Tarts products (detergent, samples, stain sticks and shaker bon bons) at and participating retailers.  To take advantage of this offer be sure to enter the code "geekmommy15" (without the quotes) when you are going through the checkout process.  Note that they've indicated that their shipping quotes are not working quite right on the Monkey Doodlez site, so please disregard the shipping quotes from the site and they will provide you with a correct total in an invoice prior to processing payment.  This discount expires in 7 days (so by September 20th!) so hurry if you are interested!  I know I'll be ordering some!

*Disclaimer:  Geekmommy Reviews was given free of charge two small samples of the product(s) to review in exchange for featuring this product on  Any opinions or statements given above come only from Geekmommy Reviews and were not influenced in any way by the product vendor.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


A mom, at any given moment, has what feels like a million different things to remember.  Things like where her keys are, what she promised to bring to Saturday's potluck dinner party, her son's favourite cartoon character, the fact that she needs to pick up a kitchen timer and potting soil next time she's out shopping, and of course,  all fifteen thousand passwords to every single website she has ever signed up for.

There's not much I can do for you if you don't have a place by the front door for your keys or a shopping list where to note down things you have to buy (may I suggest Grocery IQ?)  However, I think I can help with that last one.  1Password is a secure way to manage your passwords & online identities, as well as to keep track of other important, sensitive pieces of data.  With a tagline of "Have you ever forgotten a password?" it's easy to see how this piece of software can be useful in anyone's life, including a busy mom with more important things on her mind than what her log on credentials are to the local recreation centre's online registration system.

With versions for Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, and Android, plus web browser integration, you will honestly never have to look far for your passwords.  Now there are some other ways to go about password management.  The easiest of course being to use the same password everywhere.  Oh, except that's actually a really, really dumb idea.  Not every place is as security conscious as your online banking might be, and giving away your email/password combination at just one site that becomes compromised (or has questionable security/privacy to begin with) can result in your identity at many other sites being compromised by someone trying your email/password combination there.  Plus, different websites have different password requirements, so maybe one will be OK with your easy to remember "qwerty" or "abc123" but others will need you to have 2 letters, 2 numbers, and 5 interspersed asterisks or tildes (~).  Not to mention, that your usernames may also be different from one site to another.  Gosh, it's making my head hurt just thinking about it.

With 1Password, as the name suggests, you only need to remember ONE password.  Make it a multi-word password instead of a gibberish series of letters, numbers, and symbols, and it becomes even easier to recall.  This one password unlocks the 1Password tool - on your computer or on your phone, and you can then easily log in, either by copying the credentials for a form you are already on in your browser, or by clicking a link inside 1Password which automatically launches the browser and logs you in to where you want to go.  The password data file is secure & encrypted, and you can opt to store it in the cloud (so it's available to you everywhere), or in your Dropbox account (there are many other options as well such as a password-protected PDF, or a file to put on your own USB stick).  I personally use the Dropbox syncing service, and my husband and I share the password data file, so yeah, he can access the password to read my email, but if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, he can also pay the electric bill.  (That works for us.  Your situation may vary.)

One of my favourite features of 1Password is the ability to generate passwords - so I don't have to keep thinking up unique, clever passwords - I can just have the app generate them and it stores them for me.  It has made me feel much better about my online life, being able to have a unique and secure password for each site I have an account on, and to be able to manage all of these from one simple and accessible place.  Another great feature is the browser integration - I don't even have to open 1Password to use my passwords - I just click the integrated button, enter my master password (I can set the timeout period so I don't have to enter it All.The.Time), and bam, it fills in my credentials for whatever site I'm on.

You can read more about 1Password or download your free trial over at  1Password costs $39.99 for Mac or Windows, and $14.99 for iPhone/iPad.  For some reason, it appears to be free for Android (lucky you guys!).

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cloth By Tel - OS Pocket Diapers Review & GIVEAWAY

For a quick rundown of my cloth diapering past, check out the first post in this series here.  As you know by now, I've chosen to go with OS Pocket diapers with snap closures.  That's OS for One Size (fits 7lb to 35lb, supposedly, using a series of snaps to adjust the length/rise of the diaper) and Pocket meaning they have a pocket between the outer layer and the inner layer, into which the absorbent liner(s) is placed.  The snap closures allow the diaper to be fastened over and over, securely each time (as opposed to a hook & loop closure which can get less "sticky" as time goes by and threads/lint clog up the hooks).

Smallest rise setting
I purchased a number of generic brand OS Pocket diapers from a local retailer, Cloth By Tel, and have happily been using them for over 5 months now.  They come in regular (smooth fabric) or Minkee (soft/fuzzy) outside layers, in solid colours or various patterns.  I think the Minkee cow and zebra prints are just the sweetest!  The inside liner fabric is a fluffy fleece that helps wick away moisture from baby's delicate skin, and presumably the fluffy factor also helps remove solids from the diaper (we're still 100% on breastmilk here so have not had to deal with "real" poo yet).  The diapers have a generous sized opening in the back for stuffing the liner(s) in, and a fleece flap that folds over the liner to keep the microfiber off baby's skin.  Each diaper purchased includes a single liner, and Cloth By Tel also sells extra liners if you want some for overnights.

Spotless, after 5 months of use.  Elastics all in great shape
Thus far, the diapers have held up well to being used in regular rotation, washing every three days, and line drying the pockets.  I do occasionally throw the liners in the dryer, especially on rainy days, and they don't seem to be any worse for the wear.  The construction seems to be pretty uniform, the tabs each have two snaps, the front of the diapers have 10 snaps in a row so you can really customize the fit, and the rise adjustment has three levels for different size babies.  My baby girl started wearing these as soon as her umbilical cord stump fell off, around 8-9lbs.  She is now a robust 17lb 15oz at 5 months old, and so I've got the diapers at the largest rise setting already.  I am curious to see how the diapers will continue to fit as she gets older, but I do remember with my son that as his shape changed over the months, I had to adjust his diapers differently to get a good fit, so I imagine these will be similar.

10 snaps across the top of the diaper
There are sturdy elastics sewn in at the back of the diaper (to keep runny messes in), as well as in the leg openings (ditto).  They are very stretchy and as they are sewn inside the diaper, no elastic marks are left on my baby's legs.  I was concerned that the thick fleece inside would be too warm in the summertime, but it did not seem to be bothersome to my daughter at all, and she did not seem too warm in her diaper as compared to the rest of her body.  We have had very few diaper rashes, sometimes just a touch of redness, which went away after a bit of "air time".  On the odd occasion that we've wanted to use diaper cream, we stuck with Skinfix, and made sure to use a diaper liner (as is recommended for all balms with cloth diapers).  We have not had to do anything special with the diaper cleaning process, the initial prep wash was super easy with just a squirt of dish detergent and a double rinse.  Even after 5 months of continuous use, they are all still stain free and smell fresh and clean with our current routine:
-dry pail with pail liner for 3 days max
-cold 20 minute soak
-hot 10 minute wash with EcoNuts laundry soap
-2x cold rinse
-line dry/sun when possible, else line dry covers indoors and machine dry liners

Largest rise setting
I've talked enough about the diapers, but I do definitely need to mention Cloth By Tel's fantastic prices and deals - the diapers run from $8 for the regular/print/Minkee ones, to $10 for ones with bamboo inserts.  She also sells leg warmers, swim diapers, wet bags, wipes, bio-liners, and extra liners/soakers.  Cloth By Tel is on Facebook, and frequently has great sales/package deals to help you get the best bang for your cloth diapering buck.  Shipping charges are very reasonable, and she ships the diapers quickly, so you get them without much of a wait.  Go check out her selection over at!

Cloth By Tel has generously sponsored a giveaway of ONE regular in-stock OS Pocket Diaper to one of my lucky readers (*Canada and US only for this giveaway*).  This contest will be open until Friday, September 23rd.  To enter, please visit and leave a comment below saying which product is your favourite.

Plus earn up to 4 extra entries by:
  1. Liking "Geekmommy Reviews" on Facebook and telling me you did this in the comments (be sure to let me know your name on Facebook)
  2. Liking "Cloth By Tel" on Facebook and telling me you did this in the comments (be sure to let me know your name on Facebook)
  3. Following @geekmommyreview AND @clothbytel on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway (be sure to link to the tweet in the comments)
  4. Following this blog on Google Friend Connect and telling me you did this in the comments
Winner will be drawn on Friday September 23rd, 2011 using  Your odds of winning obviously depend on number of entries received.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Cloth Diapering - It's All About Choices

As I might have already mentioned, I cloth diaper my baby.  I do it mostly because I'm cheap, and I just can't imagine spending money every week on diapers to throw away.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that it saves a ton of waste from polluting our landfills, and that cloth diapers come in so many adorable prints and colours!  Plus, with all the easy to use cloth diaper styles that exist nowadays, it's no problem at all to get other caregivers on board.

When my son was a baby, cloth diapering wasn't really a "thing", I didn't know anyone else that was doing it (at least not til after I started), and I didn't do it all the time.  I bought disposables to use for naptimes, overnights, shopping trips, family visits, and so on.  We used a mix of Kushies AIO cloth diapers (all-in-ones), Kushies fitted diapers plus waterproof covers, and other generic brand fitteds that required covers.  I didn't dislike the process, but there were definitely things that bothered me, such as:

1) The Kushies AIO's I used took FOREVER to dry (even in the dryer, I had to run them through two cycles to get them dry)

2) After many cycles in the dryer, the Kushies AIO's started to leak, it seems the heat from the dryer cracked the waterproof exterior fabric

3) The hook & loop closures got gummed up with fuzzies and threads in the wash/dry cycle and were less & less sticky as time went by

4) Although you are supposed to be able to reuse the waterproof covers several times before having to wash them, I found they got smelly and had to wash them more often than not, so I needed more of them

5)  Being oblivious to the concept of a diaper sprayer, I was at a loss as to what to do with the poo... I ended up using popsicle sticks to scrape it into the toilet, which was effective but then at the end of the day I'm stuck holding some sh*t on a stick (pardon my french)...

Despite all of this, I was really happy to have made the decision to cloth diaper my son.  So, this time around when we found out we were expecting a new baby, I was excited to check out the new options in cloth diapering.  The local industry had certainly come a long way since the last time I was buying diapers - there were multiple cloth diaper stores within driving distance from my house.  I sold all of my old Kushies and paraphernalia, and decided to start fresh.

This time, I educated myself about my options.  I got a larger diaper pail so I could do diaper laundry every 3 days.  I got 2 Planet Wise pail liners so I wouldn't have to rinse the pail.  I invested in 37 one size pocket diapers (OS pockets) of various brands, and a number of extra liners for overnights.  I bought and hooked up a BumGenius diaper sprayer, and got a number of rolls of diaper liners to use on days where some bum balm/cream is required.  I bought a number of wetbags to allow cloth diapering on the go, and I made my own diaper wipes out of some old receiving blankets I had retired.

I'm proud to say that my daughter has been in cloth diapers since her umbilical cord fell off, and I haven't once missed disposables or regretted my decision to go 100% cloth.  I'm so pleased with how cloth diapering is going this time around that I am going to start a series of reviews on my blog in the month of September so I can share some of my favourite items & lessons learned with all of you.  There will even be some great giveaways, so be sure to enter for your chance to win!