Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cloth Diapering Part 2 - 48 Days Later

As the post title suggests, we've been using cloth diapers for 48 days now. And, I'd like to start by saying that I love them. No regrets jumping on the cloth diapering band wagon here. This post is to update you on how it was in the beginning and how it is working now. There is a definite learning curve to CDs, and they do add a little more work - honestly, it's just a little. But, I've found it to be well worth the effort.

The first week was somewhat rocky. I got peed on several hundred times, and the floor even got pooed on once.

The CDs we started off using were FuzziBunz, Oh Katy's, and bumGenius - if you recall from Part 1, the Thirsties are the next size up. While I was stuffing the whole stash the night before 'Day 1', I noticed that the bumGenius were rather wide. The FuzziBunz were the narrowest, and the Oh Katy's were in the middle. I also noticed after channeling all my strength stuffing five of the FuzziBunz that I was putting in the bumGenius inserts instead of the correct ones, dammit.

I tried a bumGenius on Turtle, but it was just ridiculously big on her. If something looks uncomfortable, I don't feel right leaving it on her. So, I decided to save the bumGenius for when she gets a bit bigger. The Oh Katy's don't look ridiculously big, but I kind of hate them right now. The north-south snaps mildly annoy me. But, mainly I hate them because of the inserts. They always get saturated in no time and then leak all over the place. The only way it will keep things dry is if I add the doubler, but then the diaper ends up being gigantic. I'd really like to find replacement inserts or DIY some - I haven't really put any effort into that idea, but one of these days. I tried it with one of the FuzziBunz inserts, but the widths are too different for that to be effective.

The FuzziBunz are my favourite, good thing or I'd be 0 for 3. They weren't my favourite immediately though, they took a few trials to get the sizing just right. They have six buttons that control the elastic, so there were some adjustments until they fit well. But, so convenient once the size is perfect. I haven't had to size up yet, so I have no opinion on how easy or hard they are to readjust for a growing baby. Also, stuffing the FuzziBunz was a pain in the butt until I worked out an easier way to do it. You just have to make sure to grasp the end of the insert and shove it in with your hand touching the bottom (aka the coloured part) and the insert touching the cloth inside (aka the white part). The insert does not slide past the inside of the outer shell easily, so the trick is to not let them touch. Was that confusing? Should I work on a visual?

So, the first week the Oh Katy's were leaking because the inserts suck, and the FuzziBunz were leaking because the sizing was off. A lot of clothing changes took place that week, mine and Turtle's.

Another problem I had at the start was I kept bunching up the insert. That is a leak just waiting to happen. With disposables I wanted the edge to be in her leg crease, that spot between the goods and the inner thigh. And, I was trying to do the same thing with the cloth diapers, but that just moved the insert into a position that caused leaks. So, once I realized that was the issue I stopped doing it. I also wasn't double checking that the insert was nice and flat right before putting the CD on. The inserts have the potential to move around from the time of stuffing to the time of wearing. So, making sure that the insert is exactly where it is suppose to be also keeps potential leaks from happening. I haven't had any problems since these two fixes.

I have seven FuzziBunz, and Turtle tends to go through six a day. On the days she gets a little feisty with the peeing and pooing, I will use the Oh Katy's. But, I change them in an hour tops - and the whole time I'm feeling around to see if she is wet at all. She's actually only used all 10 CDs once so far - we've been cloth diapering since Turtle was 4 months. Typically the FuzziBunz are all we use. And, of course, there are always disposables available if the need arises.

Changing a cloth diaper takes a little bit more time than changing a disposable. I always check that the insert is flat when I pull a new one out. Then I tear off a liner and lay it on top of the CD. After I unsnap the CD Turtle is wearing, I strip off the soiled liner and toss it in the trash - you can flush them, but I'm saving that for solid poo. When her nethers are all clean and the fresh CD is under her bottom, I make sure that the liner stays within the edges. Then I snap it up, hips and thighs first followed by waist. I double check that the liner isn't sticking out anywhere, because it will channel pee right out, and I smooth the waist, particularly in the back and hips. Bam boom. So, more involved than a disposable, but you will became old hat after a week or two. I can change a cloth diaper in less than 2 minutes, and probably closer to 1 minute if I was hustling.

Moving on to washing. The hubs and I have the routine pretty well down pat. I strip Turtle down for her nightly bath and hand off the wet bag of dirty CDs to the hubs so he can toss them in the washing machine for wash #1. Wash #1 is a normal/colours cycle using cold water and no detergent. When Turtle is down for the night, I go restart the washing machine for wash #2. Wash #2 is a normal/colours cycle with a pre-wash and extra rinse, using hot water and heavy soil level, and about three tablespoons of All Free and Clear. That takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. Occasionally I will still be awake to start wash #3, but usually the hubs puts it on for me when he comes home on his lunch break at 11:30pm. Wash #3 is a speed wash cycle using cold water and no detergent. In total the entire washing process takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes. When the hubs gets home from work at 4:00am he will toss the CDs in the dryer for a 120 minute timed dry on low heat. Then when I wake up in the morning my stash is clean and ready to be stuffed. I don't stuff them until tummy time at 10:00am, but there is almost always one FuzziBunz left from the previous day. If not I just grab a fresh one and stuff it for the morning diaper change.

So, it works out really well in our particular situation. The hubs working the night shift lets us do a load of laundry every night and I don't have to set an alarm to get up and start any of the washes. I actually did it that way in the beginning, and it wasn't a big deal, but it is much better using lunch breaks to our advantage. When he has the day off, we cheat a little bit. I skip wash #3, and then toss them in the dryer when I wake up first thing in the morning. I'll stretch her first diaper for two hours, or just use a disposable if need be. There will be more wiggle room when Turtle gets bigger and I can add in the bumGenius and the Thirsties to our rotation, and after I get new inserts for the Oh Katy's too. I might even get away with laundry every two days. I think they recommend every three days max, but I did that once when Turtle was wearing a lot of disposables because we were out and about with the in-laws and the smell almost killed me. Truly terrible, never again. One day, meh; two days, unpleasant; three days, death.

In conclusion, I am a cloth diapering fan. I love not having to worry about the number of disposables left. Because, I seriously sucked at keeping track of them - all of a sudden I would have three remaining and  have to do a Target run. As long as I remember to do wash #2 before bed, I have an unlimited supply. I love how colourful they are and how Turtle looks like a tiny sumo wrestler in them. I love how we stopped having rashes, and how I don't even need to use butt cream. I love that we don't have to spend $45 on a pack of disposables every time we turn around. I just did a little mental addition and we spent roughly $240 on disposables in 5 months, which is just shy of what I spent total on my CD stash. Gross, right?

Does it sound like a lot of extra effort and time? I hope not, because it really isn't. I just wanted to be painfully thorough in my information providing. I loved painfully thorough cloth diaper review blog posts when I was doing my research. But, it really doesn't click until you do it yourself. Stuff your CDs and practice snapping them up a few times before doing it live. Remember that there are 800 little snaps so you can get a perfect fit, keep adjusting until you find it. When you take nine minutes to change a cloth diaper the first time, keep in mind you will get faster.

A few parting notes:
  • I had four total poo-splosions when I switched to cloth diapers, I've had many many more with disposables. Think about that.
  • Clean up is actually easier with cloth diapers and liners. Most of the poo gets tossed with the liner, remember that this is exclusively breastfed poo aka mushy poo, so there is less to wipe off the tush. Disposable diaper pooing is messier.
  • Cloth diapers are bulkier than disposables. Clothing will fit differently. Car seat straps will be tighter.
  • Cloth diapers don't have a handy dandy blue line to tell you when it is ready to be changed, and as far as I can tell cloth diapers don't feel any different dry versus wet. So, I set a timer to remind myself to change Turtle's CD after an hour and a half max.
  • Turtle gets a disposable at night. Cloth diapering through the night is different than cloth diapering during the day.
  • Turtle also gets a disposable when we got out, because diaper changes in public suck.
Phew, that was longer than I anticipated. If you have any questions, or concerns please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

You can find Cloth Diapering Part 1 - Reasoning & Supplies here, and Cloth Diapering Part 3 - Visualization coming soon.

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