Friday, July 25, 2014

Cloth Diapers

A friend recently emailed me to ask about my experience cloth diapering and I realized I had yet to blog about it!  SO much to blog about so little time!  So if said friend reads this blog it will pretty much be word for word of the message I sent her...
There are a million websites out there all about cloth diapering, so it's not like I'm introducing anything new to the internet ;)  I actually watched a ton of youtube videos about cloth diapering before Leo was born to learn more about it!

First of all, I have been so pleasantly surprised with how easy cloth diapers are!
Seriously.  I get no money from any cloth diaper companies (but I am more than willing - hint, hint!) so I am being honest when I tell you that it is barely more difficult than using disposable diapers. And it's a whole heck of a lot cheaper!
Even my husband is 100% on board with the cloth.  And he changes  A LOT of the diapers.  Before he started working he changed the majority of them. 

Second, forget what you know about cloth diapers (unless you know someone else who uses cloth, obvs). It is nothing like when our parents or grandparents cloth diapered.
We use the pocket style diapers with inserts.  They come in a million different adorable prints and can be washed and used over and over and over and over. They change sizes with the child and I plan on using Leo's diapers again for our future children!

Third, they are better for the environment.  Any energy used with the washing machine and dryer is minimal compared to producing disposables and then having them sit in a landfill for eternity...

Fourth, did I mention how cost effective they are?!
For our "stash" - cloth diaper groupie lingo, I have invested about $100.  I have 20 diapers and 24 inserts, 1 large wet bag, and 1 small travel wet bag. At this point (5 months in) I'm guessing we've saved over $400 in diapers. FOUR HUNDRED.  That's a lot no matter how much money you have.

Fifth, you don't have to be all in with cloth.  We still put Leo in a disposable at night because he just pees way too much and the cloth were leaking after 4,5 hours.  There are more things we could do to use cloth at night (doubling up inserts, wool covers, etc), but for now we're just going disposable.  We also usually put him in a disposable for church or if we're going to be out of the house for several hours.  Any amount of cloth diapering you do though saves money.  I feel like if I'm going to be home with him all day I have no reason why I can't use cloth.

Sixth, they say cloth diapered babies potty train earlier!  Because the cloth are less absorbent (not gonna last 12 hours like the Pampers...) they are not as comfortable for baby to sit in after they've gone to the bathroom so they figure out earlier "hey this is gross, I should just go to the toilet instead"  haha!  I mean, that's something I'm hoping for!

So this is how it goes.  When Leo is dirty I take off his diaper, pull out the insert - only touching the very tip, so I never actually touch anything poopy and throw them both into the large "wet bag" I have hanging on the back of his door. It's called a wet bag, but it's basically a big draw string bag made out of a special material PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) that keeps it from leaking and smelling.

When it is time to do laundry (usually every other or every 3 days) I take the bag to the washing machine and dump it out and then turn the bag itself wrong side out and stick it in the washer too.  I run it through on a cold rinse cycle.  This rinses away any poop.  Breast fed baby's poop is water soluble, it is amazing how easily it rinses off and disappears in water.  When we lived in Michigan we had to pay for the washer so instead of doing the extra rinse cycle I would put them in the big sink in the basement and rinse them by hand.  It was a lot easier and less gross than you'd think.  Anyway, if you have laundry at home that's nothing to worry about, just pop them in the washer and rinse.
*FYI front loading washers are not recommended though because they use so much less water...
After the rinse, I set it to a hot wash and add detergent.  I use any non-scented dye free detergent, like All Free and Clear. 
When they're done I either put the inserts in the dryer or put them outside to dry.  I always air dry the wet bag and the covers so the elastic doesn't get damaged.  Some people dry theirs on low heat, but again with the energy saving bit. 
If the diapers ever get stained (Leo's have never stained, not eating food yet) or aren't looking super white I lay them out in the sun to get bleached out. Some people actually bleach their diapers, but you have to rinse them 3-4 times afterwards to make sure no bleach residue is left because it can be harmful for the baby's skin.
Bleaching and/or multiple rinses is also called stripping.  If you notice that the diapers are leaking or smell you may need to strip them.  Which means you rinse them multiple times to remove any detergent buildup to make sure they stay absorbent.  You rinse them until the water is clear, free of soap bubbles from old detergent left over. 

We have been using cloth diapers for over 4 months now and I just recently stripped Leo's for the first time and I did it preemptively.  I had not noticed them smelling or leaking, but I wanted to make sure it didn't happen! 

Things change a little once the baby eats solid  foods because obviously their poop changes!  It is then no longer a good idea to just toss them in the washer (wwaaa) and you need to first dump the poo in the toilet. This is when a lot of people install at diaper sprayer - an attachment for the toilet, much like the spray nozzle in the kitchen sink, to rinse the poo off into the toilet, and then you put in the bag as usual. 

After they are washed and dried I "stuff" them with the inserts and stack them up under the changing table to use again!

I should also mention that Leo has never had diaper rash, ever!

Here's some pictures of our diapers because they're just so cute and I am obviously officially a crazy mother who gets excited about diapers...
One of my favorite prints! 

Inserts.  On the left are bamboo/microfiber blend and the right are just microfiber 

This is the pocket where the insert  goes in to absorb all the pee and poo. 

They have buttons across the front and sides that make them adjustable.  This is on the smallest size, which Leo wore when he was a few weeks old :)

Here is one snapped to a larger size.
Leo is now on the next to largest size for the leg holes and a few snaps out around the belly.  They say that right before a baby can crawl is when their legs are the chubbiest, so have no fear thinking your baby is going to out grow the diapers before they potty train!

We have solid colors - a couple blue and orange too.  A few were dirty at  time of photos :)

and some prints! 



All of our diapers are from China. aka - cheap.
The majority of ours are from and
I have also bought a few off of ebay for less than $2-3 each!

There are tons of brand names in cloth diapers, but I found them to be too expensive for us to buy up front. They definitely would still save money over disposable in the long run, but you have to have a couple hundred dollars to invest in the beginning.

We do however have 3 brand name swim diapers that were given as gifts!  We have Charlie Banana and Kushies.
If you don't consider any other cloth options think about reusable swim diapers.  They are the best!! No huge saggy bottom, no mess.  I have a small wet bag I take with me to the beach or pool and after Leo wears it I stick it in the bag and throw it in with the rest when we get home. Or you could totally just use a grocery sack.
I've read that disposable swim diapers only hold in poop, they allow the pee to just transfer through which is what the reusables do too, so why not have one your baby can wear again and again and save some money!


Leo seems to like them :)

1 comment:

Sarah Dhillon said...

You've inspired me to try cloth diapering again for our next little one! I made a halfhearted attempt with A but didn't stick with it and I didn't really have enough cloth diapers to do it full time. I did hold her over the toilet/little bucket since birth for peeing and bowel movements. I've changed maybe three poopy diapers since she was 2 months old (all when she was sick) so we used a lot less diapers that way and avoided having her sit in her own mess. As of yesterday, she is officially diaper free at 20 months old (night & day)!!! We did a three day at home little potty training boot camp and she did awesome. I think it helped that she was already used to sitting on the toilet (the bumbo toilet trainer seat is fantastic for this and I've used that with her since she hit about 14 lbs... I would just hold her up to sit on it). All the effort was totally worth it to be where we're at now... you can probably tell I'm a little bit proud of my baby girl ;)


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