Friday, March 4, 2016

How we cloth diaper

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We do cloth diapering at our house.  Well, I do cloth diapering at our house.  My husband doesn't really participate (even though he asked me for months after our son was born when we would start--I think when finally faced with a poopy cloth diaper he just couldn't do it).  I do at least 90% of the diaper changing though anyway.

"Does this diaper make my butt look big?"
We did not start cloth diapering until our son was probably 5 months or so.  Knowing that he would be born just before the start of a NJ winter and that our only access to our washer required going outside and sometimes digging the door of the basement out of the snow, we thought it best to wait until spring to start with cloth.  I think even still I would have done disposable for around the first 1-2 months because of that crazy-frequent amount of diaper changes you do with a newborn.

When I did start with cloth it was still only part-time because I was working part-time.  I tried to do cloth as much as possible when I was home with him.  This didn't turn out to be as much as I would have liked because I was not stocked properly or because my husband did a change and used a disposable.

In November we moved to a new state.  I left my job and was now with our son all day every day.  However, we lived in a hotel for about 6 or 7 weeks so it was full-time disposables.

Starting in January in the new house with my indoor laundry facilities and new supplies, I started back to cloth.  It's going great and I have definitely learned what works best for us and what I prefer.  I think fully understanding your cloth diapering wants and needs is almost impossible before actually doing it, the same way fully understanding anything about having a baby is difficult before actually having your baby.  I feel pretty good with how I do things now so I thought I'd share now.

We have used a Pampers Baby Dry disposable at night since he was probably 4ish months because he's just way too heavy of a wetter.  It's the only thing that works after many attempts so we won't be touching that, even though I'm not crazy about Pampers.  (More on that below.)
Common side effects of cloth-diapering include: increased butt-size, increased cuteness, and paper cravings.

What we use
  • 10 Oso cozy prefolds: I like how thick these are and they remind me of the Econobum prefolds.  They are finally starting to shrink up so I hope to be able to just tri-fold and lay them in the covers, but as they started they were very long and required an additional fold.  Because they are so thick, I made both a front and back fold.  If you have questions about exactly what I mean with these, I can elaborate in a separate post with pictures.
  • 3 Econobum prefolds: These were the first cloth diapers I used and they baffled me to start.  (I'll explain further below.)  I now really like the whole Econobum system because the prefolds fit my baby well and the cover is also easy to use.
  • 4 Prefold covers (1 Flip, 1 Thirsties, 1 Econobum, 1 Diaper Safari): My favorite cover is by far the Flip.  I wanted to love the Thirsties because shouldn't you love double leg gussets?  But it just doesn't fit my baby well.  I have actually never used the Econobum covers with anything but the Econobum prefolds but I really like the covers and looked into getting just the covers separately (they only come with the prefolds).  It's not surprising though because they are a lot like the Flip and made by the same makers (I guess all a sub-brand of Bumgenius?).  The Diaper Safari was a quick, cheap buy on Zulily to fill that frequent need of just 1 more cover.  I've only used it a few times but it's a disappointment.  It's obviously an error diaper as it contains this random superfluous snap on the one side, but I think it's mostly a fit issue.  It does its job though.
  • 5 Pocket diapers (1 Silver Cloud, 2 Bum Genius, 2 Bumkins stuff-it): The Silver Cloud pocket was initially an error.  I thought I was ordering a cover.  It didn't come with an insert so then I had to go and buy a set of 2 inserts.  It has turned out to be great.  I got a 2 pack of some kind of Bumkins super-soaker inserts and it was great for taking him to the doctor or for times I was maybe a little more concerned about a cloth diaper holding out.  I picked up the Bum Genius 2 pack while we were in the hotel and have been really happy with those too.  The Bumkins were a recent Zulily buy as well to round out the collection and they have been a HUGE disappointment.  I don't know if they haven't been washed enough to reach maximum absorbency, but each time he's worn one I have had to change his onesie because he's soaked through.  I have both included inserts in the shell and still this is the result.  Granted, he's in it for awhile, but the Bumgenius and Silver cloud have both handled the same amount of time without any trouble.
  • Toilet diaper sprayer: I actually have not used this a ton because once I was using cloth a lot the poops were more solid and this wasn't as necessary OR I was lucky enough that he just went when he was in a disposable.
  • Bumkins disposable diaper liners: Getting much better about remembering to put one of these in the diaper.  It's basically an insurance policy that they baby will not poop in the diaper.  Oh, wait--it's not?  Supposedly it's to allow you to lift the solids out of the diaper and throw right into the toilet to save on cleaning poop out of the cloth, but it seems to be the other thing for me.  On the rare occasion he does poop when he's in the cloth and has the liner he never seems to be totally on the liner and there's always at least some clean-up, but it helps. 
  • Planet Wise diaper pail liner: This goes into just a tall kitchen trashcan with a push-button flip top lid.  It goes into the wash with diapers.
Remember to size-up those clothes :-)
How we use it
1. When I get the baby up in the morning he is in his overnight disposable.  This is where he usually has his big poop to clean up and luckily it's in the disposable.  Then I change him into a prefold and cover.
2. After breakfast and some playing, we get ready to go to the library.  This is around an hour and a half after he had the prefold put on.  I put him in a pocket diaper and get him dressed.  The pockets are good for outings because of the lasting power and his clothes fit a little more smoothly for being in public.
3. When we get home from the library and/or errands, he's usually been in the pocket diaper for 2-3 hours.  Depending on how long it's been, we usually play or eat lunch and then I change him into a disposable.  He can go almost 4 hours in a pocket diaper if needed.  The disposable is good at this time because then he's set for his nap and unlikely to wake because of being wet.  He also tends to have an afternoon poop while he's in it and that saves some clean-up!
4. He changes into 1 last prefold for the rest of the day until it's bedtime.

Diapers get washed on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights.  I don't usually do the pre-rinse that I often see recommended and it hasn't been a problem so far.  Sometimes I will pre-soak.  I wash in hot water with Tide Original Powder detergent and do a second rinse.  Everything goes into the dryer, but sometimes I hang up the covers to try to prolong their lives.

The naptime/afternoon disposable kind of happened by accident but turned out to seem like a good idea.  Before I rounded out my stash it seemed I was often short and needed a disposable.  I got lucky with the timing and realized it could be a good routine until we got our new diaper sprayer hooked up (a part got lost in the move so I haven't had it to spray the poopy diapers).  We have the new sprayer now this week and the new diapers arrived, but the disappointment in the lasting power of the Bumkins is halting the cessation of the disposable.  Hopefully the absorbency improves with washes though.


Why we use it
I would say the biggest reason I was led to cloth diaper is for environmental reasons.  I am certainly not perfect, but I try to keep the environment and sustainability in mind with the choices I make.  The tying second reasons are probably cost and reducing exposure to whatever is in disposables.  It's crazy how fast you're literally throwing your money away with a kid in disposables, never mind 2 or 3 at once!  All in all, it just feels right to me and a completely natural (as in not forced or coerced) decision.  I can't even think how long it has been that I just assumed I would cloth diaper.  Definitely years before I was even married.

A few other notes...
A Snappi'd Econobum prefold
I mentioned before my confusion with the Econobum prefolds.  That's because before I started cloth diapering I thought that prefolds always needed to be folded around your baby and fastened with a Snappi (or old-fashioned pin).  Fold was in the name!  I could not figure out how these prefolds that just barely folded and Snappi-d around my 5 month-old would ever fit him more than a week.  Well apparently Econobum only meant them to be tri-folded and laid in the cover.  It worked great for him from about 8 months until recently.  Prior to that it just seemed like they were way too wide for the space he had between his little legs.  I felt like it was putting his hips into a developmentally-wrong wide spread.  It was probably fine, but it looked uncomfortable to me.  Now the issue is that the rise doesn't always seem high enough, but so far it's still ok.  So to anyone else baffled by prefolds, they don't have to be folded and fastened!

We are currently using 7th Generation disposables because that's what I can get in regular stores like Target.  I thought these were good for non-toxicity and the like before having my baby but that was before I knew there were other brands not available in regular stores that were much better and that 7th Generation diapers are not really all that great (but they are chlorine-free and many of their other products do hold-up, but not all).  My favorite brand would be Bambo, then Earth's Best, then Honest, then 7th Generation.  (See resources below for why I made these choices.)

Additionally, we do have cloth wipes but they don't get used much.  I assume it's different with a boy versus a girl, but most of the time I don't need to do wiping with just wet diapers.  Poops come 1-2 times per day and the ease of just using the disposable wipes has won for now.  However, I am looking into a good recipe for a solution to keep in a spray bottle to start using the cloth wipes.  They DO get used to wipe little guy's nose when he is sick though because they are so soft and and are much easier on his tender skin with so many wipes throughout the day.  (I have even been known to use them instead of tissues!)

So there you have it--that's what cloth diapering looks like for us/me :-)  Obviously, I'm no expert, but maybe this will be helpful to someone.  Links to resources below:

http://www.babygearlab.com/Disposable-Diaper-Reviews?n=15&sort_field=#compare
http://www.babygearlab.com/Cloth-Diaper-Reviews/
https://gimmethegoodstuff.org/safe-product-guides/disposable-diapers/

2 comments:

  1. It's a blog! So exciting. Betting you will get lots of traffic for this one!

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  2. What a cutie! We have a little girl now (born in November last year) and also cloth diaper. We have 21 BumGenius Freetime diapers and LOVE them! They're all one piece, and we picked snap closures since reviews seem to say they last so much longer.

    My husband didn't want to deal with cloth diapers, especially the poop, but he's a total convert now, hah! We just use toilet paper to wipe/smear most of the poop into the toilet and then put the diaper in the diaper pail/bag (we use PlanetWise wet bags too). We bought some flushable liners to help catch the poop, but didn't like how the wet liners of pee would cling to her skin. The wet microfiber is actually drier against her skin than a wet Pampers, and that's what sold my husband first. The fact that they're all one piece also makes it super easy.

    I push the pre wash and extra final rinse buttons on our washer, use hot water and a sensitive color-safe enzyme-free "soap". Then they just go on the drying rack and are dry in an afternoon. Our washer really spins out the extra water (1400), so that helps. We wash them 2-3x a week. Once a month we strip the diapers with a color safe bleach per BumGenius recommendation.

    When we go out we just throw some extras in the diaper bag and we have a couple of small wet bags as well.

    We use little flannel washcloth for drying off her bum, and disposable wipes for messes and periodic freshening up. We use disposable everything when traveling though!

    Cloth are good for the environment and they're cheaper in the long run, so we're happy. Bonus points that we received them as baby shower presents and didn't have to pay for them! =) But Amazon (USA site) has a seller who offers 6 diapers for something like $100 which is a great deal, FYI. Most of ours came from him and they're great.

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