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.