Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cloth diapers can be done

Two babies lovin' their cloth diapers!

Yes cloth diapers are easy, clean, and cute too. I use cloth diapers, so do lots of other people. Let me just say, what I diaper my child with is not what your mama diapered you with. No pins, no folding, no rubber or plastic pants (now all of this does still exist but the people who choose it are the die-hards in the CD world). When people find out I use cloth diapers they assume that its difficult, and that I have to deal with lots of poop... or something like that. Let me also say that as word has gotten out that I use cloth, I have gotten dozens of emails asking questions about them (I even got one email from Prague!).

The Details--AKA why the heck would you do that?
1. The average family using cloth diapers saves around $2000 per child (shall I move on? Or is that enough reason?) during the diaper wearing years.

2. The average disposable diaper wearing child adds 4000 pounds of garbage to the landfill by age 2.

3. Diapers do not really decompose, well in about 500 years they do. Also once human waste is added to the absorbent materials inside the diapers and the diapers begin to decompose, they become toxic.

4. It is against the law to put human waste into the landfill, I'm not sure why we allow diapers to go there seeing as they are full of human waste. But if you tried to put a bucket of your waste in the trash you would get a fine for doing so.

5. Harmful chemicals: disposable diapers contain the following; dioxin, tributylin (TBT), sodium polyacrylate. Sodium polyacryalate has been linked to slowed wound healing (immune-system damage) and asthma. Also its the stuff that was banned from tampons because of its link to toxic shock syndrome (caused by staphylococcus aureus).

So How Do I Get Started? -- I have written several email on this subject so I am going to do a little time saving, and cut and paste my old emails about diapers. Let me just say, getting started can be easy. What I have tried to do in the following email is make it as easy as possible. So people don't feel overwhelmed starting out with cloth.
Cloth Diaper Styles
1. POCKET DIAPERS -- the diaper is 2 parts, an outside covering with an absorbent insert, which makes it one piece that works just like conventional disposable diapers. Such as: Fuzzy Bunz (the most popular), Bum Genius (what I use and my favorite) or Haute Pockets

a few comments on these brands--FB's are the most well known Pocket's. They will seriously last through like 4 kids. They are very well made. However you will have to buy about 3 sets of them because they are sized (sm, med, lg). BG is my all time favorite because they are not only pocket style but also one-size fits all, so while they are about the same price as FB's you only have to buy them one time, not three! I also have several HP's they are fine and I like the snap option, HOWEVER they are really bulky, so bulky that Marin cannot wear shorts or jeans with them. Also they are not completely leak proof. They cannot be worn through the night ever, or for any long period of time.
*The only negative about pocket diapers is that you have to stuff them together after each wash. But the dry super fast because they are not made out of cotton, but something like micro fleece.

2. AIO (all in ones) --these I did not use because they didn't seem practical or very easy to clean, also when I held them they had plasticy outsides and I like the cloth feel. Here are a few examples. The one plus is that you do not need to stuff them after wash (which I will tell you all about in the next section) they are just one diaper... BUT they take forever to dry as a result.

3. DIAPER COVERS--waterproof cover with a variety of inserts. I used these for the first few months. The only plus of these is that they are the least expensive way to go, per diaper... but considering you have to buy three sets (sm, med, and lg) in the end you will still spend more than the Pocket diapers. Here is how these work: here is your cover , there are many different brands out there that vary in price. Its the insert that varies. You can have the insert that works like this: mother-ease, fitted, and finally (what we did--and I don't suggest this way AT ALL!!!) the Chinese prefold these are the onces that need either pins or snappies.

OK so there are the diapers. Now how do you store them?

Storing Dirty Diapers:

1. Wet Storage--this requires a bucket with a tight lid (so that someday toddler cannot open it and get in) you can get your wet storage bucket at Lowes in the paint section, they have the best snap on lid that no child would ever be able to remove. And its way cheaper than buying one that is specially made for cloth diapering. Now this system is not for the weak stomach... because you will have a bucket full of watery-poop... that you have to touch...

2. Dry Storage--this is best done if you buy this bag. Its called the wet bag, but its dry storage. There are other options out there but most of them are not zip so they are not smell proof. I suggest you have 2. QUESTION? so how does the poop come out of the diaper if you do dry storage. Well for the first 6 months of your baby's life you will be dealing with breast milk or formula poo, so you will just throw it all in the wash (or you can pre rinse them in the tub and then put them in your wet(dry)bag waiting to be put in the washer) most washers have a pre-wash cycle though so that will rinse them well then wash them. Its a nice easy deal. Then as you introduce food and baby starts to get really nasty poop you can buy these nice little sheets flushable liners. These lay on the diaper between the baby's rear and diaper and peal right off after a poop. The nice thing about this brand is that if baby is just wet you can actually just throw them in the washer with your diapers, and dryer too and they last about 3 times through that cycle. So if you get a really messy diaper you can always pre-rinse it in the toilet or tub first and then wring it out and just put it in your dry bag until you wash.

WASHING--this is an easy one, just about every 2.5 days. Or on day 3. So this leads to next question:
HOW MANY--you need about 16. You will use about 6-8 each day.

WHAT ABOUT NIGHT TIME---use disposable... OK I have tried to use cloth at night. Bum Genius comes with a night liner, and it works well (HP's does not make it through the night, neither does FB, even with the extra liner in it) Either way your baby will wake up smelling like pee, and the diaper gets really really smelly and its just really really bulky, I mean Marin could not even roll over in her night diapers when she was littler because they were so bulky. So I have always done disposable at night. Every now and then I revert to cloth because I ran out of the others but its just not the same at night. I know a lot of cloth diaper purists and they also use disposable at night. There ARE cloth night options, they are expensive and I don't really know anything about them.

WHEN DO I START-- I always always suggest to all new mommas that they do not start for the first month. Give yourself at least 4 weeks to heal after birth, learn to nurse, rest, get used to your new baby. Even after 4 weeks I only started using them part time for a few weeks. It takes a while to get used to them. But once you have it down its as easy as cake! I timed myself the other day and it took 3 minutes to get them in the wash, and about 10 to stuff and fold my pocket diapers.

SOAP--any of the baby or free and clear name brands will do. Do not use fabric softener because they will begin to repel moisture... not a good idea. And you are not supposed to use bleach it will tear up the elastic... however I use the Publix chlorine free greenwise brand just about every 10th wash to make sure there is no funky smell. *Sunshine can also take care of funky smells.

*side note* YOU CAN REGISTER AT MOST CLOTH DIAPER STORES. (my personal favorite is, but you might have one locally too!)

More to come on cloth diapers.

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