Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cloth Diapering Part 1 - Reasoning & Supplies

The hubs and I decided to cloth diaper for two-ish reasons. One real reason, disposable diapers are friggin expensive, and one fluffy reason, cloth diapers are so bright and cheery. I was also influenced by cloth diapers' reputation for keeping diaper rash at bay. But, mainly we went for it because of the cost.

I spent days reading cloth diaper reviews, blog posts about how to cloth diaper, and skimming cloth diaper forums for advice, tips, and tactics. And, I started my pursuit of knowledge before I was even pregnant. What can I say, I like my research. And, cloth diapering is really overwhelming. What brand? What type? What size? What detergent? How do you even put that on??? So, I thought I would add my experiences to the cloth diapering internet database.

I decided to use one size CDs because they are cheaper than getting a fresh set of CDs for each size. Having read that one size CDs tend to be leaky on a skinny legged newborn, I decided to start with disposables. Not only better fitting but also easier to use, no learning curve. And, infants need a diaper change roughly every 7 seconds, so you would need a hefty amount of newborn fitting CDs. On top of that, you never know how big or small your baby will be. Turtle was early so she may have needed extra-small and small sized cloth diapers before she chunked up enough for one size CDs. All of that could have easily added up to $200+.

I decided to make the bulk of my CD stash pocket diapers because I'd read they are easier to get thoroughly clean and dry faster, plus you can control absorbency with inserts and doublers. I also wanted to have a few all-in-one diapers on hand for anybody not versed in cloth diapering to use since they are closest to disposables, and so I could try them myself.

I almost forgot snaps! With pockets and all-in-ones you have two options: snaps or velcro (usually called hook and loop). I hate velcro so that was an easy choice - the sound gives me chills. But, I've also read that they wear out faster than snaps.

Cloth diapers have to be changed more often than disposables. Night times can be tricky figuring out the right amount of absorbancy to keep baby and bedding dry. And, by the time you've added extra inserts or doublers you have a diaper the size of Texas. So, I figured I'd by-pass the whole issue and put a disposable on her at night. Plus I already planned on having a box handy for traveling. Using 1 or 2 at night with a few here and there for the diaper bag is money well-spent on saving myself a little extra trouble.

If you are considering cloth diapers, the best place to start is a survey of your personal situation. I am lazy and budget conscience. Thus, I wanted a system that was fairly simple and stress free, and as money saving as I could make it. To recap: cloth diapers, cheaper; one sizes, cheaper; pockets, cleaner and I read over and over that stuffing the inserts takes no time; all-in-ones, for kicks; disposables, when more convenient to save my sanity. There is no wrong way to build a cloth diapering system (I can't say the same for snapping and tightening them).

Here is what my stash looks like:

3 Oh Katy one size pocket diapers

7 FuzziBunz one size elite pocket diapers

5 bumGenius 4.0 one size pocket diapers

5 Thirsties Duo all-in-one size 2 diapers

I purchased all of my CDs during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales last year. I went hunting for deals knowing I wanted to get some FuzziBunz and bumGenius because they are both well-loved and well-known. The Oh Katy and Thirsties were stumbled upon deals that I did some quick research on and liked what I read. I also knew I wanted to get several different brands so I'd have different cuts and widths to work with as Turtle grew. If I had gone with all bumGenius for example I probably would have ended up despising cloth diapering right off the bat because they are so huge in the crotch width that they don't fit well on my 13lb baby. But, because I have FuzziBunz and Oh Katy's as well, it isn't a big deal and I can save the bumGenius for when she is bigger.

The Thirsties are slightly different because they come in two sizes. Size 1 is 6-18lbs and size 2 is 18-40lbs. I went with the size 2 because they have a longer shelf life. As of now, I haven't done more than wash them, fold them, and put them in my cloth diaper box.

In total, I spent $258.93. I purchased everything new. However, there is a big used market for cloth diapers where you can get good prices on gently used ones.

Now, along with the actual cloth diapers you need some accessories. Some place to put the dirty ones for starters. We have a Planet Wise wet bag size large because it comes with a snap handle ($19). We put up one of those hooks with the sticky backs in the highest weight holding category that we could find next to the changing table. You can also get a pail liner, but I planned on doing laundry nightly so I didn't think such a large garbage can was necessary. The size large wet bag is plenty big for all the diapers Turtle goes through in a day. We do have a tiny pop lid trash can in the nursery too for dirty wipes and the occasional disposable.

For the actual laundering, I just use All Free and Clear, which is what I do all the laundry in so nothing special. And, you only use a wee bit of detergent when washing cloth diapers, so it won't be disappearing at light speed. I do have a bag of Rockin' Green detergent for deep cleaning my stash once a week ($17). You only use a tablespoon, so I'm pretty sure the one bag will last me until I die. I got Smashing Watermelons. SMELLS? I also purchased a drying rack in order to dry the shells in the sun ($37). I read it helps keep them stain free for some reason. You can also dry them on low in the dryer.

Poop. It happens. I decided to use Bummis Bio-Soft liners, large ($8 for two). All they do is keep the poo on top of a little sheet so you can peel it off and drop it in the toilet. They look like dryer sheets. I originally planned on getting a toilet sprayer attachment, but these just sounded so much easier. Turtle is still exclusively breastfed and her poop is just mush, so I haven't gotten to test them out with solid poo yet (and I'm super looking forward to it of course...). I went through my first roll in 20 days.

You cannot use regular diaper cream with cloth diapers. It will gunk up the material and make it repel liquid, which is the opposite of what you want it to do. I have two little jars of Angel Bottom Balm ($9 per), which are CD safe. However, I have only used it once in the past three weeks. And, that was only because I put her in disposables all day after her shots for ease. Turtle had an almost constant rash when she was in disposables. The second day of wearing CDs her butt was completely healed without using any cream. Love it!

And that is everything I purchased and use for cloth diapering. Apart from wipes, which you need any way you slice it.

Cloth Diapering Part 2 - 48 Days Later is now live and can be found here.

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