Feb 25, 2013

Cloth Diapering 101

When I tell most people that we cloth diaper, their first reaction is usually shock and disbelief. Then I generally get something along the lines of: "Better you than me", "What do you do with the poop?, or just an "Eww!" But it doesn't phase me. We LOVE cloth diapering! I was hooked on cloth diapering long before I ever got pregnant! I used to watch Youtube Cloth Diapering Mamas and I used to read blogs about Mamas who cloth diapered. I knew that it was something I was going to do. When we got pregnant, I easily sold Todd on the idea. He had never changed a cloth diaper OR disposable. Therefore, he had absolutely no preference and it made it really easy for him to learn. I started right away building a stash. Cloth diapering is way cheaper than disposable diapering.. even if you go a little overboard like I did! The average cloth diapering family saves anywhere from $1000-$3000 from birth to potty training per child. We liked the thought of that. I also loved the thought of NEVER running out of diapers, never having to go to the store for more. Another reason that made it seem like the right decision for us is the fact that we do not have trash pick up where we live and diaper trash adds up FAST! I also like the idea of my child's skin being next to soft and comfortable material instead of chemical laden paper-like material.. however, we DO put him in a disposable diaper at night now so we are not opposed to disposables in any way!

But I am getting off topic .. which is really easy to do when talking about cloth. There are so many facets to it and so much to talk about!

I began building my stash up. My very first CD purchase was at a baby expo where I bought two Fuzzibuns diapers. Everybody raved about them, so I thought I would jump on the band wagon. (I NEVER use those diapers now by the way!) I purchased a variety of other diapers via awesome websites such as DiaperJunction, NickisDiapers, and Kelly's Closet. Then I discovered Sunbaby, an inexpensive China based company that sells diapers for a quarter of the price, and our stash filled out very quickly! We also bought all of the accessories to go with it: wet bags, pail liners, cloth diaper safe diaper cream (we use Grandma El's), a diaper sprayer, cloth diaper detergent (we use Country Save), a drying rack, snappis, and a few other things. I sewed all of our cloth wipes out of fun printed flannels, and I made our own cloth wipe solution.

I went back and forth as to whether I wanted to put him in cloth diapers right after we had him, or if I wanted to wait until we got home. I am so glad we waited because we were in the hospital for 5 days. When we got home, however, we didn't start cloth diapering right away either. There were several different reasons why: we were getting used to being first time parents, I was more focused on breastfeeding than cloth diapering, he went to the bathroom a million times a day, and basically we were so sleep deprived that we couldn't tackle another learning curve at that time! The biggest reason though was that K was in special care at the hospital and we were supposed to be monitoring his intake and output. With the cloth diapers, I could not tell HOW much he was urinating. Therefore, we didn't start officially cloth diapering until Kingston was about 3 weeks old although we did put him in them part time from about 2 weeks on. We were cloth diapering full-time by the time he was a month. 

We started out with newborn AIO's, which stands for All In Ones. Basically, what this means is the the diapers insert is sewed right into the diaper, so there is no stuffing or removing of anything. It is simply like a disposable. You put the whole thing on and you take the whole thing off. He wore his first cloth diaper at his newborn photo shoot and here he is at 11 days old at home in an Imagine Newborn AIO diaper. Look at those tiny little legs and his little umbilical stump! Be still my heart! 

 After we started cloth diapering full time, we ditched the AIO's (they took too long to dry) and shifted to a combination of prefolds/covers and pocket diapers. Prefolds are simply prefolded flat diapers similar to what our grandparents are familiar with. However, these modern versions are flat diapers already folded and sewn with the thickest part in the center for added absorbency. These can be put on in variety of different ways and need a closure such as a Snappi too keep them together. You can see the use of a Snappi in the picture of Kingston below. Prefolds also need to be worn with a waterproof cover. Our favorite combinations was an Imagine prefold (sold by NickisDiapers) and either a Thirsties or Rumparooz cover!

A pocket diaper is simply what it sounds like, a diaper with a pocket that needs to be stuffed with an insert. Pocket diapers come in sizes such as S,M,L or in a One-Size option which is the option that we chose. The One-Size option "should" fit your baby from birth to potty-training. None of our pocket diapers fit at birth, but by one month most of them fit pretty well! Our favorite pocket diapers are Sunbaby and Charlie Banana!

There are other different types of cloth diapers as well: flats, AI2, hybrid etc. However, we do not use those. Currently, we are only using pocket diapers. Kingston has outgrown his prefolds and fits into all of his pockets, so they have been put away for our next child along with his AIO newborn diapers and covers!                 

When using cloth diapers, you need to use a special detergent that is cloth diaper friendly. This is because you do not want the detergent to build up inside of your diapers which could cause your diapers to repel liquid. We use Country Save which is widely accepted as a great cloth diaper detergent. We love it! Our wash routine is as follows: a cold rinse with no detergent, a hot wash with detergent, and a cold rinse with no detergent. Then, we put the inserts, pail liners, cloth wipes (we cloth wipe exclusively when we are home, and we use disposable wipes when we are out), and wet bags into the dryer and we hang the actual diapers themselves on our drying rack indoors to dry. This helps to preserve the elastic in the diapers by not allowing the high heat of the dryer to break them down. 

What do we do with the poop? Well poop from a breastfed baby is water soluble. Therefore, you do not have to do anything. Simply remove the diaper from your baby and put it your diaper pail and wash on diaper day. Now that Kingston is eating solids, I simply take his soiled diaper into the bathroom, spray off the poop with our diaper sprayer, and put it in his diaper pail for wash day. It really is very easy. No matter if you cloth diaper or disposable diaper, you are going to come into contact with poop. It's something you get over very quickly. These sweet little babies are also stinky little munchkins! 

What do we do at night? Kingston used to wear a cloth diaper at night, until he started waking up every night soaked. I didn't like how uncomfortable he seemed when we double stuffed his cloth diaper (which is definitely an option), so we decided to put him in a disposable diaper at nighttime and he stays dry through the night. There are multiple options though if you want to cloth diaper at night, such as hemp, bamboo, etc. However, we are happy with our night-time solution at the moment. 

So there you have it .. cloth diapering in a nutshell.

Some of our Favorite Cloth Diapering Products:

Thanks for reading!

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