Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cloth Diapering

When I thought of having babies I always assumed I would use disposable diapers. I mean, everyone uses disposables. Right?? Imagine my surprise when I started looking in to cloth diapering while I was on pregnancy bedrest and discovered that it made a lot more sense to me. There are so many positives about using cloth that I couldn't resist using them. It sealed the deal when my friend PK gave me some chinese prefolds, fleece liners, Prorap covers and one of her own homemade fitted diapers for my baby shower. I had also gotten some Gerber Birdseye prefolds (not the burp-cloth style) that work in a pinch. There began my *obsession* with cloth diapering. Everywhere I went online, people talked about getting almost fanatic about it. It's easy to do because there are sooo many options out there that make cloth diapering WAY better today than it was when our moms and grandmas did it. My mom used pinned prefolds and plastic pants. I do have some plastic pants, but only use them if my other covers are dirty.

Let me tell you a little bit about what diapers I have right now and which ones I prefer.

By far the easiest diaper I have is the Kushies All-in-one fitted diaper. With this daiper you do not need a cover. It goes on just like a "sposie" and washes just as easily as the diapers that need a cover. It fits up to 21 pounds but I find that the rise is a bit high on her right now. But I like how cute it is and we haven't had any messes in it. It's not my favorite, but it's easy to use and very daddy friendly.

The other kind of fitted diapers I have are one-size (also to 21 pounds) that you need to use a doubler for. These diapers are easy to use, only I think I will prefer them more when she gets big enough that I won't have to fold the front to make it fit (that's what you have to do for the first size). They are quick to dry and they hold in the poops great. This one is a Sweet Cheeks diaper and they do need a cover. This is actually my bulkiest diaper by the time I am done.

The doublers (separate rectangles that give extra absorbancy) that I have are several layers of cotton stitched together. I got them discounted on

My second favorite option is the one that I use most often (simply because I have only purchased one of the Kissaluvs Contours, which are my favorites). This option is almost as easy/quick as using a "sposie", especially when I fold the diapers ahead of time and put them in the covers. As you can see below, it is a chinese prefold diaper that is folded in thirds and put inside a Prorap cover. I then use a fleece liner on top. The cover has elastic and velcro, so it goes on just like a "sposie". I also got some covers that are very comparable to the Proraps (they just run a little bigger) on Ebay from cloth diaper supply (I think that's what it's called anyway)as well as some Diaperaps I got from my brother's wife. All these covers are similar and I now have about 5-6 covers in each size.

By far my favorite diaper is the Kissaluvs Contour, which, as I said, I only have one of so far. It is the SOFTEST diaper I have, made of cotton fleece. It kind of feels like a really soft stretchy terrycloth. It is different from a fitted daiper in that it doesn't have the elastic or the velcro closure, so you do have to pin it or use a snappi so it is a bit more time consuming than some of the other options. The doubler is attached with one stitch down the middle for faster drying time. They come in several sizes and you can also choose to get colors for a dollar more per diaper. The one I have is yellow on the outside. This diaper also needs a cover. I love it.

I prefer to use a liner in my diapers. It makes cleaning a breeze and keeps the moisture off the skin. I have fleece liners. These are easy to make. Just go to Wal Mart and get some microfleece and cut it in to rectangles that are the size you want them. They are very easy to rinse out and most of the poop gets on them rather than on the diaper.

I also have disposable rice paper liners that are even easier than the fleece (though the fleece are softer on the skin). They can be flushed in a city sewer system, but with a septic tank you'd need to shake off the poop and then throw them in the trash. For less walking I chose to use a wipes container. I just line it with a grocery bag and pop the liner in the box. When the poops get bigger I'll switch my method to flush the whole thing (you are supposed to shake off the poops with "sposies" anyway). When the box is full I open the lid, tie off the bag and throw it in the trash.

I have also chosen to use cloth wipes. They are made of very soft flannel stitched along the outside to prevent fraying. Baby washcloths can also be used for this. All I have ever needed to use of these wipes is one versus disposable ones where I often need 2 or 3. They just get thrown in the pail with my diapers.

I store the wipes in a wipes container. They get folded in half and soaked with a solution of one cup water, 1-2 tsp. baby oil and 1-2 tsp. Johnson and Johnson baby wash.

The dirty diapers get put in the washer to soak instead of using a separate wet pail (I also have a dry pail in the room for before they get transfered to the machine). I soak them in water with a bit of Oxyclean (never use chlorine bleach on diapers, it will ruin them). Some people simply use a dry pail where they go straight from the pail to a wash cycle. I prefer to presoak them because I find the stains come out better. Many people don't care about stains because, well, they're diapers, right? This is a personal preference and has nothing to do with how clean they get. When I am ready to do a load of diapers I spin them out and then do a cold/cold wash cycle with a bit of detergent (one without scents, dyes, or fabric softeners). It is usually recommended to use about 1/4 of the amount of detergent you would use when you wash a load of clothing. The first cycle is the cycle I do the covers in, too. After that cycle I take the covers out and line dry them. Then I do another wash cycle in hot/cold with a bit of baking soda, a bit of detergent (I use Kirkland powdered dietergent and it seems to work fine so far), and a little bit of vinegar in the rinse cycle (baking soda and vinegar is optional). Then I do an extra rinse and throw the diapers in the dryer. The whole process really doesn't take that long. It's like doing an extra 2-3 loads of laundry a week and it is well worth the cost difference (and the cuteness factor is a plus) between cloth and disposables. I want to get a sewing machine at a decent price (I need one anyway) and experiment with making my own diapers. If I do, I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. So that's our cloth diapering experience in a nutshell.


my4kids said...

It sounds like you really have the cloth diapering worked out! I used them with the boys when they were little the only difference was I used a diaper service. I wasn't really excited about more laundry so it worked for me and was still way cheaper then disposables and at the time we didn't have a lot of extra money for disposables anyway part of the reason for using a service for me though was we were living in apartments without our own washer and dryer and we were already having to do a lot of loads at the laundry mat and I didn't want to add the additional loads for cloth. I used it on Izzak until he had surgery in that area at 8 months and had to do double diapering with disposables to keep his private area very dry. Joshua I used it until he broke his leg when he fell with his grandfather and had a cast from the waist down and cloth just wasn't working with the cast. I really liked the service except you only had a certain type of diaper although you got your own covers and I loved the velcro wrap ones. Anyway I can understand what you say about it being easy on the skin not to mention not so much garbage.

Emmakirst said...

You make it sound so easy!~ You have a great system going and you're right they are pretty cute.

purple_kangaroo said...

What a great post! I'm glad the cloth diapers are working well for you.

Drea said...

I loved your post. Very informative for a new cloth diaper users. Love it if you'd come visit my blog. I may add u to my blog roll so I can keep reading more.