Thursday, November 20, 2008

Still at it

Sorry I don't blog about these much. Nothing too exciting has been happening in our little CD world. We are still using cloth about 75% of the time, though I've gotten a little lazy about it and run out of clean diapers probably once a week at least. :) I am washing about 3 times a week, but the washer is very full! I'm excited to hopefully get Reilly potty trained by this summer. It may not happen, but I think we'll try it after all our Christmas traveling maybe. We'll see if he seems ready. Jaina is outgrowing her mediums, so I might have to do some shopping sometime soon, as I'm selling three of her medium pockets right now.
After about 6 months of this, I've changed my mind about a few things. I'm not as much a fan of the GADs as I was at first. Sure, they seem nice and comfy, but I can't seem to keep them from leaking unless I change REALLY often. (compared to some of my other pockets) Maybe they'd do better if I used the actual GADs insert instead of BumGenius microfiber inserts. Who knows. My favorite diaper is probably the BumGenius one-size pockets, though they don't fit Reilly. Hopefully Jaina will continue fitting into them for some time, because I won't leave the house or put her down for a nap in anything else... Doing well though. Chugging along. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New additions

We've had a really hard time finding diapers that fit Reilly well. The "one-size" BumGenius pockets really only go to about 30 lbs. He's about that, and they DO fit, but they're not very comfortable for him. And we loved our BumGenius Egyptian Cotton fitteds for a while, but they kind of seemed to shrink, and weren't that comfy for him either. And they took too long to dry. So I sold them and bought two of the new Babykicks One-Size Hemp fitteds (slightly used). They're supposed to go up to 35 or 40 lbs, and they fit him really well. I also found I liked the snaps a lot more than I thought I would. They are fitteds, so they technically need a cover, but they also have a pocket. If I put a hemp insert into the pocket, they're great for letting him run around for a while coverless (so his little bum can breathe) without worrying about him soaking through.

The other new diapers we got are Green Acre Designs (GADs) side-snapping pockets. The size large looks tiny, but fits Reilly so well. It's great; they seem more comfortable for him. I like how the side-snaps (vs. front aplix/velcro) don't put pressure on his tummy. And they come in all kinds of cute colors. I already ordered one more for him and two for Jaina. They come in 5 different sizes, so make sure you measure your little one and compare. There are two links on the side now to stores that sell GADs (usually 15.95, with another $3-ish for an insert. Any insert will work, pretty much.). I highly recommend trying them!

Current stash

At this point I'm washing about every 1.5 days, but I think soon I'll be able to wash every other night. I think I said that before, but I've bought and sold several things since then. I need to make sure I use my prefolds more. I have more pockets now, and they're just so much more convenient, and they seem a little more comfortable for Jaina, who is trying to get more mobile. (Trying, not succeeding so much) Anyway, here is everything (minus a prefold she was wearing, Reilly wasn't up yet!) I have right now, fresh out of the dryer. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Does it Save Money?

So I was browsing and found a cool site : . It breaks down the costs of disposable vs. cloth diapering. (just the cost of the diapers themselves)

They based their research on "two of the most popular brands from a store known for its value pricing" and calculated how much a value box of diapers cost, plus how many disposables babies use (on average) at each age, and also figured in how long they are using each size.

With all the math done, this site claims the average cost of JUST the diapers for about 3 years (i child) is $2,694. Is that crazy, or what? If you want to see how they broke it down, check the site.

This site (a little less accurately, I think) says disposable diapering costs about $2800. They base that on 8 changes per day for 3 years at $.32 a diaper. I don't think most of us pay quite that much per diaper, but let's say even an average of $.22 a diaper - $1927. That's a lot of money!

This same site says the same family will spend about $320 to $500 on cloth diapers during a child's "diapering life." That's probably washing every 2-3 days. I wash every night right now, and have spent about $400 so far for both kids. I'm getting close to being able to wash every 2 days though, which would be about right, I think. I just bought some more BumGenius's for Jaina. Now I just need to find some diapers that fit Reilly a little better, and we should be well on our way to just washing every other day. I don't think I'd want to go longer than that, mostly because you don't have to deal with much smell that way.

Cloth diapering definitely seems more economical, even if you factor in the $400 (approximately, of course) it takes during those 2-3 years to wash all your diapers. If you're doing two kids at once, I think that number probably goes down. :) Then there's still the re-sale value. From what I've read (and from some re-sale myself) you can make back anywhere from 30 to 60% of your original cost if you keep things in decent condition. Either that or save everything to use on the next child, and your costs for THAT baby just went way down... Money-wise, it's a win-win situation.

That's all for now. Jaina thinks she needs some attention. :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How it's Going

So far, it's going really well! We've been doing it about 3? weeks now. It's not as easy and simple as disposables, but it's not really that hard, either, and we feel better about it. We still use disposables sometimes, like at night (I haven't gotten brave yet) and when we're going to be out and about for a few hours and don't want to have to worry. Of course even then, Reilly does okay in a good pocket diaper. Jaina needs to be changed a little more often. I'm having a lot more fun than I thought I would, and there are so many options out there, and so much to learn, that it's a little addictive. I'm sure Jeremy's tired of hearing about cloth diapers, even though he's excited about it too (and is getting better and better at the prefolds). We're going to Arizona for a few weeks soon, and I plan to use disposables (which we've actually never had any problem with - I love my Pampers!) on the trip and probably about half of the time while we're there.

Some pros we've found:
-Environmentally better
-More natural than all that plastic and perfume
-Will save us money. Eventually. I've had way too much fun getting a lot of diapers and trying all different ones. It will be better than $50-$70 a month on disposables (and I hear the prices are supposed to go up due to all the oil issues?)
-Adds some cute and fun variety to diaper changes
-Actually has helped me feel more connection to the kids - they need me to make sure they stay clean and dry a lot more than when using disposables...
-No, we haven't had more rashes, like everyone seems to think. You're actually not supposed to use diaper creams on cloth diapers. Most kinds mess them up. We haven't had any rash, just a little redness at first when I wasn't cleaning Jaina enough.

A few cons:
-Yes, you do more laundry. I've been washing every day, but I'm getting closer to going to every other day. I don't think I'd want to go longer than that... I really hate smells. It's nice that at least we don't pay for water right now...
-You definitely have to change them more often, and worry about it a little more.
-Some of their clothes don't fit as well. (Our kids are chunky anyway - on skinny babies, I hear they help keep pants up! :) This is actually one of the harder ones for me!

We'll continue to keep you posted! If you have any questions, or if you're interested in trying it, (even part time!) talk to me!

Types of Diapers

These are normally made out of cotton($1.50 - 3.00 a piece) , or out of hemp or bamboo velour (those last two are more expensive). They require some folding and fastening, with either traditional pins ($0.50 to 1.50 for a set) or with a snappi. (comes in many colors, about $3) Typical prefolds are either Chinese (longer-lasting) or Indian (softer) cotton, and either bleached or unbleached. is considered one of the best place to buy prefolds, but there are many good sites, and buying used (such as on is not a problem, either. When you get brand new prefolds, you need to prep them by either boiling them for a while, then washing and drying, or washing and drying them about 3-6 times. After this, they become absorbent and are ready to use. I use these (and Thirsties covers) mostly with Jaina. She's better at sitting still while I get them on right. Below you can see Reilly in a not-so-well-snappied prefold and the progression from prefold (unbleached Indian - I love these!) to cover on Jaina.Fitteds
Fitteds also need a cover to be waterproof. They are shaped like babies (and like disposables) and often use snaps or velcro to attach. Tons of moms like to use fitteds (and covers, under clothes, or when they're out) rather than prefolds, even though they're a lot more expensive. I'm beginning to see why. Tthey are definitely simpler, though many moms prefer prefolds. They are usually made out of cotton and/or hemp, or bamboo velour. You can find them for anywhere between $8 and over $40... (Yes, there are quite a few people will pay $30-40 for certain custom or premium types of fitteds...) Most mass-produced fitteds are between $10 and $18. We have mostly plain colors, but you can get fitteds in all kinds of prints and several kinds of fabric. Below, Reilly is modeling a BumGenius Egyptian Cotton fitted. These are very cool, but they may or may not be making anymore...

When you need to keep prefolds or fitteds from wicking moisture onto clothes or furniture, you put a cover on. You can keep it simple, with whites, clear, or solids or get lots of fun prints. Instead of PUL (polyurethane laminate), lots of people also use fleece or wool covers; both "breathe" better than PUL, which is kind of plasticky. We haven't tried any, but we'd like to. They say wool is warm when it's cold and cool when it's warm. It's pretty pricey though, even for homemade stuff. We're talking $20 - 50 per item. (covers, shorts, long wool pants, etc). I don't know too much about fleece.
Pockets are my favorite for naps, outings, and for Reilly. They usually have some kind of stay-dry liner on the inside, waterproof PUL on the outside. You stuff inserts (or even prefolds) in the pocket for absorbency. They're nice because you can leave them on a little longer without worrying about them feeling "wet," because they're easy to put on (they have velcro-type closures or snaps), and because you can stuff them with whatever you need for different situations. Without stuffing, they also make good swim diapers. (I hear). We have several BumGeniuses that we like, and a couple of Happy Heinys, which we also like. Below, Reilly models a BG on the stairs.

An all-in-one (AIO) is a cloth diaper with the absorbent layer integrated into the waterproof outer layer. It goes on in one step. No stuffing, no diaper cover and no folding means that this is the easiest-to-use and quite possibly, the most convenient diapering system you can buy. They tend to fit very trimly. The main reason we don't have any is that they take quite a while to dry. They're also slightly more expensive. People that do daycare often use a lot of these. They're also great for dads and babysitters. Here are some pictures of AIO diapers: (they basically look like pockets on the outside)

Where to Buy
It's hard to find actual cloth diaper stores, but there are lots of online places, and many of them offer free (and fairly fast) shipping, especially if you buy a certain amount. There are quite a few links on the sidebar, several of which we've shopped at ourselves. You can also get stuff used - cloth diapers have a pretty good re-sell value, and there is a very busy website that does a lot of person-to-person sales, with transaction feedback, paypal and everything. You can find it (the FSOT threads) at It's kind of nice to get involved there, because you can re-sell the things that aren't working for you, or try different types of diapers more cheaply than buying new. You can also find a lot of WAHM (Work at Home Mom) wares there. For everthing you can buy in "stores" there's usually a WAHM counterpart. Some of these products are a bit cheaper than the mass-produced ones, and many are more expensive (nicer, more customizable). For many people, diapers are as much art as they are functional. I don't have any WAHM products at this time.

Cleaning Up

Clean up with cloth diapers isn't really that bad. Sure, sometimes it's gross, but so are regular diapers. It's just not a happy thing in general. Mosy people don't use the "dunk and swish" method (if that was the only option I would NOT be doing CD). Most people use a diaper sprayer:

These attach to a valve behind your toilet, or to the shower, or whatever really easily. You just spray any extra mess off into the toilet. No need to touch anything you don't want to. :)

We don't have one of those (though I might be interested in getting one), but I use flushable liners. They're not that expensive, and you just throw one in every diaper change. If the diaper's just wet, you can throw them in the wash with everything else, and they last 3-4 washes (so you don't go through them too quickly). If the diaper's messy, you just throw them in the toilet. (With most of the mess). Sadly, Jaina seems to have a sixth sense about when I forget to put one of these in... The brand I hear is best is Imse Vimse. The toddler ones are great because I can just cut them into pieces and use one for both kids

This can be slightly complicated, but it hasn't been, for me, so far. You just try something that works for other people, and if it doesn't work for you (i.e. if you're getting smelly diapers) you try something else. Diapers are a little picky about which detergents you use on them, as detergent with additives can cause build-up, which will smell. We use All Free & Clear on most of our clothes, but it's not the best thing for diapers, so I've been using Purex Free & Clear on them. Here is one good link about different detergents and how they work for cloth:

I do a cold rinse, a hot wash/cold rinse with 1/4 - 1/2 of the detergent called for, then an extra cold rinse to make sure all the soap is out. If I think about it I do an extra spin at the end, as it cuts down drying time. I also add a little Calgon (water softener, in the laundry aisle) because I think we have really hard water here in Davenport, and hard water can cause build-up, too.

I usually hang the pocket diapers and the covers to dry overnight, and dry everything else on high. Most things can be dried on high, but the tags will tell you, if so. Fitted diapers sometimes take a little extra long to dry, and All-in-Ones (AIOs) would take even longer.