Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cloth Diaper follow-up

I've been getting inquiries about cloth diapers. Since I took the time to type in all this stuff, I"ll post it here. I'll get back to vacation pics soon.



I didn't ever intent to use cloth. I was willing to compromise my environment ethics on this one. I remember my mom rinsing diapers in the toilet when I was a kid. I didn't want to have anything to do with it. But with Jackson, I spend so much time scrubbing blowouts out of clothes that I decided to take the advice to switch. I don't really handle the pooh anymore with cloth than with disposable. I used disposable on vacation. After a few days, I was longing for the cloth and the nice wipes. I don't like that the disposable silica crystals escape and stick to Jackson's skin. Plus there's the guilt of being responsible for some of the vast disposed of diaper landfill wasteland.



First, some notes on the ick factor. For the first 6 months, don't even worry about the pooh. breastmilk pooh goes right in the washer and dissolves away. No chunkies in the wash, no stink, no problems. When you start feeding solid foods, I recommend diaper liners. These are just cellulous papers that go between the diaper and the baby. There are a couple of brands. Imse Vimse makes one. Prices are about $13 for 200 or so. They're advertised as "flushable", but there's a warning about not being liable for sewer problems. Since we have septic, I throw the soiled ones away. If they're just wet, I leave them with the diaper, wash, and reuse. You could also get a sprayer that connects to the toilet plumbing. I haven't bothered.

My stash:

2 dozen unbleached Chinese or Indian prefolds. I use the newspaper fold. Lay the baby on, fold the front edges over the middle (in thirds). Pull it through the babies legs, fold the top in (below belly button). fasten with Snappi. Cover. When you get these, you have to wash 3 times in hot water (no soap). Dry in the dryer between each wash. This will cause them to shrink and thicken up. Don't skip this step. I have heard of boiling them then drying, but that seems to be for people without running water and a washer. 1 Kissaluvs contoured diaper. This is a nice diaper, but they're kinda pricey. It snaps together, but a cover is still needed.


16 diaper covers. I have Bummies Whisper Wraps and Proraps. Plus one other. I prefer the Bummies fit, but they are made of a nylon that absorbs odor. At first, I tried to reuse covers without washing since that's what I read about doing online. It was smelly. Now I always wash them. The Proraps are made of PUL plastic. They have leg gussets, but they don't cover Jack's chubby thighs very well, this is annoying but it doesn't impair the function. But both brands do the job well, very few leaks!! Be sure to tuck any exposed diaper into the cover. The other one is a WAHM. It has snaps instead of velcro and is great, except I would switch the direction of the snaps.

10 Dappi diaper covers. These are the plastic pull on type. They're ill fitting and can be difficult to remove on a dirty one. However they're small and super cheap. I keep them in the diaper bag with a spare diaper to be used for emergencies. If all my good covers are in the wash, I'll use one. Otherwise they just sit there.

1 BumGenius. This is a pocket diaper with snaps that allow you to adjust the size. It's supposed to be good for newborn up to 30 pounds! I just got one. I really like it. I never used it with a newborn, though. Note--the velcro on this one is irresistable. Keep pants on your baby, or you could have a streaker.


Diaper liners for easy removal of solids. See comments above.

Snappi fasteners. These are great. They're stretchy silicone fasteners shaped in a T that hold the same way elastic bandage clips do. Love them! (no pins)

Diaper doublers. I have one hemp doubler. One Bum Genius doubler. A bunch of made at home doublers--I had gotten several hemp diapers early on. I didn't like them as diapers because the Snappies wouldn't stick in the fleece. I cut them into thirds, sewed the 2 edge pieces together (the middle is OK alone, leave the seams on the middle) and use these as doublers. They're twice as thick as the regular doublers, and just right for us.


Wipes. I use target baby washcloths. I think they came in 6 packs. I probably have about 3 dozen. These are the perfect size and weight. Soo much better than disposable wipes.

Old wipes container. Mine is from a generic brand that has a big opening (unlike the Pampers containers). I fill it with water and sometimes add Tea Tree Oil. I used to add a squirt of California Baby baby soap, but I no longer bother. Plain water is OK. I don't recommend adding wipes to the water. The combination will get the dread funk overnight. I just dunk, ring out, then use. I usually dunk 3 or 4 just in case, the unused ones sit out on top of the wipes container and are good for next time.

Bummies Diaper Tote
. 1 extra-large (This is my at home diaper pail. It could rest in a garbage can, laundry hamper, or whatever is convenient)
1 medium (rarely used. I used to use it for a 2nd changing table, but I don't anymore. Good size for daycare)
1 small (kept in the diaper bag, sometimes used when we don't use a baggie)
These bags are fantastic. They are PUL plastic with a drawstring. I usually just lay the top together at home. This bag is odor proof!! However it is not beagle proof which has been a problem for the last few months.

Garbage diaper pail. I have the Diaper Dekor. It doesn't sequester odors. If I were buying now (which I should be) I would get the Baby Trend Diaper Champ. It has a lid with a big flip handle, so only 1/2 liter of air is exchanged per use. You use your own bags. Retail establishments like Babies R Us and IKEA have this one in their changing rooms. I know 2 people with them. They're smell free from my experience.

For the diaper bag, we use storage baggies (these are maybe gallon size, no zip top. We put in the diapers, tie a knot, and go) We should use the small Bummies Diaper Tote more, but these are convenient and easy to stash a bunch in the bag at the time.

I also bought a reusable cloth swimsuit from Target. This was great. I now have one of the Kiss-a-luvs swim diapers. I guess its OK, but its not very boyish. Also, there isn't much thickness for absorbency, so I don't know how effective it really is. Follow-up comment.  Had a puddle develop next to the pool with the Kiss-a luvs, and it wasn't chlorine water.  Sorry fellow swimmers.

Here's a photo of my setup. From left to right: water, wipes, covers, reused liners, creams (butt paste is very good!) and random accessories.
Below the shelf hangs an L-shaped toilet paper holder (open on one end). It holds the diaper liners.
To the right is my diaper stacker loaded with cloth diapers folded in half.
Extras and doublers are in the bottom drawer.


To wash: I dump the bag of diapers in the wash and follow with the bag itself, inside out. If you stick the velcro over on itself, it won't get flotsum (our velcro is no longer pristine). I prerinse with 1/4 c of white vinegar, then I wash. I use Method detergent--but I don't really know how this ranks on the scale of which detergent to use/not use. You can find tips online somewhere. Do Not Use Softener. The oils with reduce the effectiveness of the diapers. I line dry the covers and bags. The diapers, wipes, and liners go into the dryer. Sometimes I hang dry outside. We have one of those little round popup laundry lines on a center pole. We set in in the patio table where the umbrella usually goes. It's a little ghetto, but its super convenient! The sun does actually get stains out (its crazy, I know). But I couldn't do that in the winter, so I've been living with the stains. Line drying results in stiff diapers, and I'll usually put them in the dryer after to soften up. I wash 2 loads a week.


After a while, my diapers started to hold onto some smell which comes out when they get wet. Its faint, but still. I tried stripping with Vinegar or OxyClean. Now I'm using bleach. I do it every 2 months, but should probably do it monthly. Wash in very hot water once with soap, then rewash with bleach, then rewash a couple more times with plain water.

Other stuff I've had but don't like:
Some home made A-I-O (all in ones) bought off of eBay. These have PUL inside, but are fleece covered. They look nice, but its a continuous piece of fleece from inside to out and wicks moisture, so they leak badly.
A pocket diaper with fuzzy fleece lining and with nylon outer. The fleece is seemed at the edge to the nylon, and again, moisture wicks out. This is the same brand as the WAHM cover which I really do like.
Hemp prefolds. I didn't like these as diapers, but pieced into doublers, I love them! (see above)
I experimented with cutting a strip from the top of my too long prefolds and sewing it into the center (one one side only) as a permanent doubler. These were great! But like everything else early on, Jack outgrew them pretty quickly.

If I were starting over, I would get more BumGenius. I bought the prefolds because I thought it would be cheaper, but since I need so many covers, it ends up being $13-$15 per set (diaper and cover). The BumGenius are $17-$18 each. So the cost wouldn't be much more. But the prefolds are fine. Something to keep in mind if you use daycare is that they are generally more receptive to the one step diapers than the prefolds.

I've also heard good things about FuzziBunz brand pocket diapers and Thirsties brand covers.

Plan to get clothes a size larger to fit over the cloth diapers.

Here's Helene's put:

In terms of pockets, I prefer snap diapers--the velcro diapers fray a lot and Marika can take those off (although she doesn't try all that often). But Reed likes the velcro and probably likes our bumGenius one-size pockets the best. I like GADs (Green Acre Designs) and Blueberry Diapers the best (the BBs are expensive but they have sales about 3x a year). I've found that anything with a print wicks if you're using pockets, so my advice would be to stay away from those. I really like the Thirstie's AIOs. For fitteds, I've just used the Thirsties (but they're not that absorbant) and a couple Blueberry one-size. For covers I love the Thirsties. Now I don't have experience using cloth before 4 months, but from others I've talked to, it's probably easier to just use prefolds until they get into mediums--they're so easy to change when they're little that prefolds are easier than when they're older. Just warn them that getting a routine down with pockets/AIOs can be a pain in the butt. But overall it's easy. We're trying to do some early potty-training and one of my motivating factors is that I don't want to have to buy large diapers. :) Marika is outgrowing some of her mediums and is on the last snap setting of some of them.

3 comments:

  1. FYI--I just saw some BumGenius dipes at Target, for those of you who aren't ready to seek out th elittle guys.

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