Posted in Authors, Blog, Christine, Featured, Mother

Realities of cloth diapering

As I prepared for the arrival of our first baby, my mom, a pediatrician, suggested I think about using cloth diapers.  My knee jerk reaction to any unasked for advice is to reject it, but I had been mulling over the idea of cloth diapers.  It’s hard not to consider it living in a place as “green” and environmentally conscious as Seattle.  I initially knew nothing about cloth diapers and it seemed really intimidating at first.

a prefold with a size one thirsties cover

There’s a lot of different types of cloth diapers, and how the heck do you clean them??  I started my research online, talked to a few moms who had done it, and attended a local diaper swap.  By the time I signed up for the “Cloth Diapering 101” workshop at Birth and Beyond, I knew most of the information that was covered during the session.  My biggest worry was having to deal with dirty diapers.  I was skeptical about how sanitary it would be to clean them in the washing machine.  (Of course, that’s before I had experience with breast-fed poop.)  The primary reason I decided to try cloth diapers is to save money. I’m taking the year off from work and decided I’d have the extra time to deal with washing and using them. I also wanted to figure out as many ways as possible to make up for the loss of my income.  Now that I’ve been using them for almost a month and a half, I wanted to share my experience using cloth diapers.
After about a week in disposables, our baby Olive was big enough, and we were sane enough, to start using cloth diapers.  For the first two to three weeks, we used prefolds and covers.  This is the cheapest cloth diaper route and also the easiest to fit on newborns.  I bought snappis to fasten the prefolds, but ended up not needing them.  Instead, we just folded them to fit the covers, and used those to keep them on.  Prefolds come in several different sizes, and I collected a huge stack of infant (7-15 lbs) sized diapers.  In addition, I had several new and used waterproof covers in newborn or small sizes.  My favorite covers turned out to be the thirsties snap closure covers because they have a double gusset which is better at preventing leaks and gives a better fit.  They are also adjustable in size.  I got several size one thirsties in cute prints that fit from 6-18 lbs.  The aplix (or velcro) fastened diapers provided more flexibility in fit, but the ones I had bought used did not fasten as securely.  You also have to remember to fasten the velcro to the laundry tabs before you wash them.

thirsties with an aplix closure

We probably went through around a dozen prefolds and 2-4 covers a day.  (The covers only needed to be changed when poop got past the prefold and onto the cover.)  I had read that I’d be doing a load every other day, but I ended up filling the diaper pail within a day.  I’m not sure, but maybe it’s because my diaper pail and/or bag are on the small side.  They say that you don’t need to worry about rinsing diapers with breastfed baby poop because it’s water soluble, but when it’s a large amount, I do it anyways.  It’s easy to do with prefolds and a diaper sprayer.

In addition to cloth diapers, we are also using washcloths instead of disposable wipes.  If she’s really messy, we just stick her under the sink to rinse her off.  Otherwise, I use a dry washcloth or, if needed, one that’s been moistened with a spray bottle of water.  The dirty cloth wipes just get washed along with the diapers each night.

After a couple of weeks of successfully using prefolds, I started getting a few that smelled strongly of ammonia after they were used.  That’s when I realized that I was using enough laundry detergent for a full load even though I was really washing half a load’s worth of laundry (or less) at a time.  I’d been using one tablespoon of Charlie’s soap, and cut it down to half of that.  Once in a while the ammonia smell will come back on 1-2 diapers and I’ll do an extra rinse cycle at the end of the next wash.  This seems to be working (fingers crossed).
When the newborn and extra-small diaper covers stopped fitting the baby, I eased my way into using pocket diapers.  These are generally more expensive than prefolds, but an advantage to them is they usually have microfiber or some other fiber that wicks the moisture away so they don’t feel as wet.  Since Olivia gets distressed when wet, I thought this might help.  They also take a little less work to put on.  You do have to prep them by stuffing them with an insert, but then you just snap or velcro them on as you would with disposable diapers.  The smallest one I had was a pair of rumparooz that I had bought because it has a smaller setting than the others and because it has an inner leg gusset, which I thought might also help with a snug fit and to prevent leaking. Sunbaby and fuzzibunz diapers also run a bit smaller.

Eventually, Olivia also fit into the bumgenius pairs.  In addition to all of the more common fleece/microfiber pocket diapers, I tried some with alternative fabrics.  This included kawaii diapers with a bamboo lining and blueberry diapers with bamboo inserts.  I decided to try these because bamboo is supposed to be more absorbent and possibly less irritating.  The big downside I found to bamboo are that they take a lot longer to dry.  Even after being in the dryer, I had to hang dry them for several more hours.

blueberry pocket diaper

I also bought extra hemp inserts, which are extra absorbent like bamboo, but are much thinner and dry faster.  The one type of diaper I wasn’t that impressed with were grovia’shybrid diapers.  The cotton cloth inserts have a nice gusset, but take almost 2 days to dry even after being put in the dryer.  I have yet to dry the disposable inserts with them.  I liked the pocket diapers so much, that I ordered more of them for when she grows out of the newborn/small prefolds.  I ordered more sunbaby diapers because they are the most affordable, but they take over a month to arrive from China!

grovia hybrid diaper

One side effect of cloth diapers are that she has grown out of her clothes a bit sooner because of their bulkiness.  This hasn’t been a big deal.  It will also be interesting to see how it effects our water and electric bills since we now do an extra load of laundry every day.  There has been some small poop stains on the diapers, but sunning them (when there is sun) gets rid of them.  The one downside to keeping the diapers on longer is Olivia started developing some diaper rash.  I found some cloth friendly diaper balm, which helped to clear it up, but I do have to keep putting it on to keep it at bay.  Maybe she has especially sensitive skin, because her cheeks have started breaking out from the breast milk too.  One of the primary reasons I decided on cloth was to save money.  I also enjoy the fun colors and prints and don’t even mind the routine of washing and re-stuffing them each day.  I’m also glad I’m keeping some waste out of the landfill and adding another layer of cute to Olive’s wardrobe.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  1. Nice job! Interesting read for a fellow cloth diapering family.

  2. I love my sunbaby diapers!! Supercute, awesome resale value, and don’t give my lo a rash like bumgenius. And so affordable!

  3. Thank you for all the great information your input has been helpful. I have to admit you lost me when you mentioned waiting for diapers from China. CHINA??? What are you thinking? Doesn’t getting diapers from China take away one of the sole purpose for using cloth diapers. Don’t get me wrong here I love all things Chinese just not supporting there economy and not ours.
    Much respect, Jane

    • *their

      Also, before you critique other people’s choices, learn to use a comma and proper punctuation. You type and sound like an idiot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *