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Chronicles of Cloth Diapering

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

prefold diaper on babyWe use cloth diapers (CD for short). Why? A. It's less expensive than disposables; B. It's better for Marlie's skin (no diaper rashes!); C. It's good for the environment. Many new parents don't consider cloth diapering because they think it's too messy and time-consuming. They have visions of thin, gauzy material that has to be folded and secured with giant pins that might stick the baby. They also fear leaks on the level of the Hoover Dam breaking. I am here to educate you on the ins and outs of cloth diapering based on my six weeks of experience. I know this doesn't make me an "expert," but I hope you learn something anyway. Here I describe our cloth diapering systems with definitions* of the products that we use and our laundering process:

Our fluffy stash (inventory) purchased from Hip Green Baby unless otherwise noted:

  • 24 prefold diapers (unbleached Indian cotton, chemical free): high quality, absorbent and inexpensive. Needs some folding . Secure in place with a Snappi (see above photo) then put on a cover.
  • 3 Snappis: the 21st century version of the diaper pin is a stretchy, Y-shaped plastic fastener with grippers like an Ace bandage.
  • 6 DryBees Bamboo Fitted diapers: shaped like a disposable, so no folding needed. Fastens with snaps. Easy to use, but expensive. Requires a cover.
  • 1 Kissaluvs contour diaper (hand me down): shaped like a disposable. No folding, but has no fasteners so it needs a Snappi. Easy to use and more affordable than fitteds.
  • 4 newborn ProRap covers: a diaper cover made of breathable polyurethane laminate or PUL. Fastens with hook and loop closures (apparently the term Velcro is trademarked)
  • 2 Wonder Wrap covers: diaper cover that grows with the baby using adjustable snaps. Closes PUL diaper cover on babywith hook and loop fastener. Made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane or TPU which has less chemicals that PUL. See photo to the right
  • 1 MotherEase Air Flow cover (hand me down): diaper cover made from a soft fabric (I think it's a modified PUL). Adjustable snaps on legs and waist allow for perfect fit.
  • 1 Bummis Super Brite cover (hand me down): a diaper cover made from a single layer of polyester with a wipe-clean laminated interior. Fastens with hook and loop closures.
  • 1 wool cover (hand me down): a pull-on diaper cover that very breathable and super-absorbent, making it great for preventing leaks when baby starts sleeping through the night.
  • 3 Rocky Mountain One Size Pocket Diapers: a diaper cover that has an opening for an absorbent insert to be stuffed in it. This brand fastens with snaps along the waist and legs that are adjustable to grow with the baby. I look forward to using these when she gets bigger.
  • 2 Wonder Fulls Liners: Made of 6 layers of super-absorbent hemp/fleece. I plan to use these as an insert for the pocket diaper and as a liner with the other covers to keep her bottom dry during the night.
  • 2 pail liners + 1 medium and 1 small wet bag
  • gDiapers: a hybrid diaper. gDiapers, which stands for green diapers, consist of a washable, cotton outer little gPant and a plastic-free biodegradable diaper gRefill (description from website). I have 3 gPants that were gifts and I purchased the refills online at Target.com. They are very similar to using disposables which make them perfect for the environmentally-conscious parents who also use childcare that is not cloth diaper friendly. I use these sometimes when we go out.
*Thanks to simplemom.net for the definitions!

During the day, we use the prefold diapers. At night, we use a DryBees bamboo fitted since we are changing diapers less often. Bamboo is known for its antibacterial properties and for wicking moisture.
I really like the Kissaluvs contour diaper and might purchase more when she outgrows her infant-size prefolds diapers. Marlie just outgrew her newborn ProRap covers and is now in the Wonder Wraps, Bummis and MotherEase. All three are lightweight, durable and very waterproof, but my favorite is the MotherEase Air Flow because it is so trim and offers the best fit. Have we had accidents with the cloth diapers? Marlie has had poo leak onto the inside of a cover, but never on her clothes or bedding.

Care/Maintenance:Diapers have to be prepped before use, to clean them as well as
activate their absorbency. This means running them through the washer once or twice depending on the brand. I put dirty diapers right into the pail. Her poo is not sticky enough to have to rinse out the soiled diaper. When it gets to that point, I will be purchasing The Diaper Sprayer because I will not be dunking her diapers in the toilet (perish the thought!). I launder the diapers/covers/pail liners every two days by throwing everything in the washer (we have a front-load HE machine) with a scoop of OxiClean and running a short, cold cycle to rinse them out (I pre-treat some of the heavier soiled diapers with a little Maggie's Liquid Soap Nuts). I then add 1 Tbsp of Maggie's and wash on hot, regular cycle to sanitize. I line dry the diapers because the sun is a natural brightener and bleaches out any remaining stains. This stiffens the diapers, so I air fluff them in the dryer for 30 minutes. I have been pleased with the Maggie's soap. It has just enough tea tree oil to kill germs and lavender to kill odors. But a 32 oz. jug that is supposed to do 64 loads only lasted 7 weeks (25 loads in my estimate). Of course, I was using it to pre-treat as well, so that contributed to the half life. Last weekend, I purchased a 160 oz. box of Country Save HE Laundry Detergent for the same price as the Maggie's, and I love it. It claims it will do 160 loads in my HE washer. We'll see! Once a month I strip the diapers with RLR treatment to remove detergent buildup and set-in odors. It works wonders and makes the diapers look showroom new!


Betty Manousos said...

Omg! Your Marlie is so adorable and precious!!!
Have a great day :)

Keyalus said...

I can't wait to start cloth diapering. I went a bit crazy and have a huge stash. I'm just waiting to use up the disposables in the two diaper cakes I received at my baby shower. I have tested him in a rumparooz lil Joey though and it was just as easy as disposables.

JaelCustomDesigns said...

Awww! She's absolutely precious! I have given you a blog award, please stop by and collect. :-)

I'm guilty of not lasting long with the cloth diapering but, I'm still breastfeeding going 20 months strong!

The Redhead Riter said...

I can say one thing...That is definitely work! LOL LOL LOL My favorite look on a baby is just wearing a cloth diaper. It looks so "baby" to me. I still use some of Alyssa's old cloth diapers as dust rags for the furniture. Can you believe they have held up through all her diapering and now dusting furniture for close to 15 years. That is some good cloth!

jmt said...

You are a braver woman than I am. I am of the group "too time consuming". I suppose I "might" have considered them harder if I were to be at home, but I couldn't subject a daycare to cloth diapers. I'm not even sure they allow them even if I wanted to....? I'm happy to hear that your decision is working out great for your family though. It's always nice to hear that what you DO works great for YOU. Happy Hump Day!

Teresa @ ♥ Too Many Heartbeats ♥ said...

She is just TOO cute!

Thanks so much for your prayers during my recent illness. I am still really, really weak but I'm gaining strength each and every day. I will be posting more about my illness and hospital stay as soon as I'm a little stronger.

I hope the rest of your week is amazing.


Teresa <><


Dee said...

Girl I have to tell you I did this. It is 16 years later, but I remember it lasted about 1 mere week.

I lift my hands to my mother who did this for my entire baby years and to you of course.

Diana of Diana Rambles said...

We used CD with #2. I used to work with the lady that created Kissaluvs (although she's since sold it!) Do you go to Diaper Swappers? It's a great forum!

Lorie said...

That is a great product, and a very cute model! ;D

Stopping by from SITS!

Denise said...

I wish I had started cloth diapering sooner. We've been using cloth diapers for a little over a year now & just LOVE them!!!

Your baby is adorable!!!

Anonymous said...

You'll discover you like different brands and styles at different ages and stages. And it's so true, I never considered cloth while I was pregnant, because I pictured it as it was 25+ years ago and didn't even think it would be what it is! I'm so happy I discovered CDs and now there's no turning back :-)

Alexia said...

Hey Teresha! So glad we found each other cause my husband and I have been debating switching to cloth diapers and this answered so many of my questions. I guess I was just scared I'd be doing laundry constantly. Now I just need to find out where to begin on a 8 week old baby behind!

How do you like the Diaper Sprayer? Was it easy to install? My man is no Bob Villa!

Thanks again!

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