09 January 2007

Cloth Diapering

Okay, my sister-in-law's close friend is having a baby next month and she hooked the two of us up since I have all sorts of information and opinions about cloth diapering. I started using cloth about two years ago, when Bug was just over two and Bean was about six months. So I don't have actual experience CDing a newborn, so those opinions are where I would start if I were going to diaper a newborn based on my bigger baby experience. If any other CD mamas are reading this, please chime in with any other thoughts or recommendations in the comments. I will forward them on to SIL's friend.

I am linking to pictures at diaperco.com. I *think* that is where I ordered my first diapers from. Since then, I have bought them "off-line" at Happy Bambino. I'm not recommending or advocating any particular vendor. This is just the one that caught my eye when I googled two years ago. Punkin Buns has an awesome FAQ page with lots of links to great additional information and a page of links to articles.

Cloth Diapering 101 - some basics, by no means complete, based on my basic research two years ago and my experience so far.

  • At its most basic, there is a diaper and a cover. The most basic diaper is the Chinese Prefold (CPF) which is a "diaper service quality" (DSQ) diaper. Other types include contour diapers, which are shaped so you don't have to do origami to put them on, and fitted diapers, which have elastic for a snugger fit. The most basic cover is just some kind of variation on the rubber pants of old. There are also wool covers (or soakers), both commercially made and handmade for knitter or crochet types. There are lots of free and for sale patterns. I could do a huge long blog on the variations of soakers and my opinions, but not here...
  • Pocket diapers are kind of a hybrid. The diaper is both liner and cover and some sort of absorbent stuff is put in the pocket between.
  • All-in-ones (AIO) are just what they sound like, a liner, cover, and absorbent stuff all-in-one. They are as convenient as disposables, but much more expensive than prefolds and covers.
What we use:
  • CPFs with Bummi Super Whisper Wrap covers. I have a minor diaper pin phobia, so I use Snappis instead of pins. They cost a bit more, but calm my child-stabbing paranoia. Both diapers and covers have performed wonderfully. After two years, I am still using the original diapers and wraps I bought, though the velcro has gotten pretty bad on the oldest wraps and a few of the diapers are showing their age and getting holes in the outer layers. We have added some wraps to the collection. We also have been replacing Snappis as we go, since the rubber tends to break down over time.
  • Fuzzi Buns stuffed with CPFs. These are a total life saver for the wiggle-itis phases. When the littles have gone through these phases, it takes about six hands to put on a diaper, fasten it and put on a cover while keeping the baby from doing somersaults off the changing table. Fuzzi Buns just snap on. We haven't used inserts. I'm not opposed to them, they would make a trimmer fit, but we decided to go the cheap route and use the pre-folds we already had. Bulkier, but cheap!
  • We also have a few Kissaluvs fitted diapers that we use under the Bummi SWWs. I'm not crazy about these for older babies as they don't hold very much pee and they take FOREVER to dry, but I think they might be nice for brand new babies that get changed more frequently. I had trouble getting prefolds on Bean when we started...a combination of inexperience and minuscule butt. The fitteds would have been a lot easier, but also more expensive. Like everything, convenience vs. $$$.
  • We have some wool soakers that I have made. You'd think that a knitter who cloth diapers would have more, but I prefer the SWWs since I seem to be to stupid to keep the soakers out of the hot diaper wash. They are all felted now *sigh*. We also have a couple of acrylic soakers that I made. They aren't as nice as wool, but they are virtually indestructible!
  • We also have a handful of hemp prefolds that we use as doublers at night. They are a little less bulky than the CPFs, which is an asset since the night-time butts tend to be huge!

The up-shot is that if I was starting over with a newborn, I would probably get a few each of the smaller size pre-folds and teensy-weensy Kissaluvs and see what worked best before committing. If pressed, I could probably make a recommendation about specific sizes and number, but that can be by email. Then I would get a couple each of newborn and small SWWs and see which fits before investing in more. If I weren't so cheap, I would consider Fuzzi Buns (but I'm cheap enough that I would wait until baby wears a medium since they grow out of the tiny ones so fast) and some AIOs as both are very convenient (and Daddy-friendly if Daddy is less than enthused about CDing)

  • We use a Mother of Eden pail liner in a garbage can with a foot opener thingy. We have two liners...one in the pail, one in the wash or drying. I put a little lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil on the little terry flap to keep smell down.
  • Wet diapers go straight into the pail. Covers can be air dried and reused if they don't smell like pee. Poopy diapers get rinsed in the toilet using a mini shower. Love the mini-shower!!
  • Since I have had two in diapers, I wash every other day and have a pretty full load. With one, I imagine every 3-4 days would be a reasonable sized load. It really depends on how many diapers you have and how big the washing machine is. With our old washer, I did a cold pre-wash cycle to rinse and soak, then a hot, fairly long wash cycle. With the washer we have now I just do a long hot wash cycle and occasionally run them through a second cycle if they are particularly fragrant. I use slightly less detergent (we use Sears) than I do for regular laundry, a 1/4 cup of baking soda, and a couple of squirts of Bac-out when we have it.
  • Diaper covers and pail liners hang dry. When the weather is nice, I put stained diaper on the cloths line in the sun. The rest of the diapers and Fuzzi Buns go in the dryer.
I have never tried a service, but I don't think washing diapers is too bad, so the extra effort of washing them wouldn't balance out the extra cost of a service for me. Also, you have to use their particular diapers and wraps (usually CPFs and Proraps) and probably not fitteds, pocket, or AIOs. So it would be less convenient diapering, but more convenient (as in no) washing.


Mom said...

Whew!! Makes me glad I didn't have all these choices for my babies. With you, it was either cloth diapers (probably only a couple of different types...at least that was all I had) and plastic pants that leaked...or Pampers (the only brand of disposable diaper available when you were a baby) that caused you to break out in rash after wearing them two days in a row. All of which made my choice of using cloth diapers for you pretty easy.