08 December 2008

Cloth diapers 101

It's been a little over 2 months since Ruby was born and I think we are good to go on our cloth diapers now and have even started using cloth wipes soooo, in an attempt to put together as much information for anyone who is interested, I will list it all here.

First thing first - Types of cloth diapers

Flats / prefolds: These are what most people think of when they hear Cloth Diapers. They are the flat piece of material that needs to be folded and some how hooked onto the baby along with a waterproof cover. This tends to be the most economical method to use cloth diapers, but it also seems to be the most involved. There are also a variety of types and it seems that Green Mountain diapers tend to be the most popular choice among the people I know that use these. I don't have any experience with these though.

Contours: These are similar to flats / prefolds, but they are contoured to fit into the covers better. Again, I don't know much about these since we don't use them.

Fitteds: These fit like disposables and are usually sized (S, M, L, etc) to change with your growing baby. These will still need a waterproof cover however. I know a lot of people who rave about the Kissaluv fitted size 0 for newborns with thirsties covers (I'll talk about this in a moment) - we bought some and tried, but I failed at these. They kept Ruby's messes in without a problem, but I ran into wicking issues and fit issues and other problems, so I abandoned them. Again, some people really love this method - me, not so much.

Covers: These are what are used with the above types of diapers. It is what keeps clothing and such from getting wet. There is also a variety of these, from a type of cover that fits over in the same way a disposable fits (with velcro type closures or snaps) to wool and fleece soakers which basically just pull on.

Pocket diapers: These are what we use (and LOVE). It is basically a waterproof cover attached to a fleece type material with a pocket where you stuff the material that is used to hold to moisture. What is nice about the one's we use (BumGenuis 3.0 One Size) are that they will grow with Ruby so we should never need to replace them due to size - and she should wear them until she potty trains. The one size aspect is some snaps on the front that adjust the rise to fit her - and let me tell you, these things fit great around her legs (as long as you get it tight enough, since my dear husband had an explosion from one he did not get tight enough today!).

All in ones / all in twos: These are the closest to a disposable, since its all one piece, but made of cloth. I think the difference is the all in ones have the absorbency sewn in so it looks like a disposable and the all in twos have it attached on top, sort of like an extra flap which allows it to dry faster.

Now, onto what I've found is needed:

Diapers, obviously. How many you need is up to you as far as how often you'll do laundry. Newborns seem to need 12-18 day. I've seen typical recommendations suggesting about 24-36 diapers and plan to wash about every other day (you don't want them to sit too long).

Diaper pail - I have yet to talk to someone who uses cloth diapers with your typical diaper pail, there always seem to be issues. Most people recommend a plastic trash can with a flip-top lid, they say the air flow actually helps keep them from stinking as much.

Diaper pail liner - some people use a pillow case, we however have waterproof liners. Actually 2 since a) I wash it every time I wash the diapers and b) we'll need it if our daycare agrees to use them. I've seen some people like 3-4 due to daycare and such, so far though for us, 2 seems like it will work. I'll let you know if that changes once I go back to work.

Wetbags - these are smaller waterproof bags to keep in your diaper bag. The size and number you'll want depends on you and your family. We currently have two - 1 small that holds a single diaper and 1 larger one that will hold 4-5 diapers. Some of these even have a tab that you can put a drop of essential oil on to help with any smells.

Cloth diaper safe detergent - Since you want these to absorb the moisture and not repel it, you need to be careful with how you wash them. We used Planet at first and then I've found someone that sells wonderfully scented diaper safe detergent (Crunchy Clean). Oh, and never, never, never use fabric softener - it builds up on the fabric and can cause repelling. I also put a few drops of tea tree oil in which helps prevent stink issues (and also helps get rid of the mildew smell I sometimes noticed in our front loader!).

Wipes - we are in the midst of switching to cloth for a couple reasons. One being its obviously better for the environment and the second being that we're washing diapers anyhow so its just easier than having to have a trashcan AND the diaper pail. Plus, what I've learned is the wipes seem much better at cleaning her bottom off and keeping poo of me! I took an old wipes container, used a few drops of tea tree oil (retards bacteria growth), a squirt of baby oil, a squirt of baby bath, a squirt of baby lotion, and water, and then soaked baby wash clothes in it. When I take the wipe out, I squeeze all the excess moisture out and at that point, they feel the same temperature as your disposable wipes which was my main concern. As for what will be in the diaper bag, I'll have to see how well these work in the wipes cases coming with my new diaper bags. Hopefully, I can be done with all things disposable though. I think we have about 20 clothes right now so we'll see if I need to get more.

This is all we are using as of now, but Ruby is still exclusively breastfed. Once she starts having more solids, then we may investigate a diaper spray or disposable liners. A diaper sprayer is basically a kitchen sprayer hooked up to the toilet and is used to spray off the solids into the toilet. The liners are just that, liners placed inside the diaper and if I remember, all the ones I've seen can be flushed, so it just keeps it from sticking to the diaper. I have no experience with these, but wanted to put the information out there.


Seachelle said...

I'm VERY proud of you for sticking this out.

Erin said...

cloth diapers really are fun to learn about! I used cloth wipes and loved them. I just used warm water instead of a solution. It was easier for us.

Em said...

Becky! this is awesome! So useful for anyone wanting to try out CD'ing.


Em :o)

Anonymous said...

I love your dedication! My friend, Dana, has the toilet sprayer thing. If you decide to get one, she can tell you where she got hers, or you may already have a place in mind. She's the same Dana whose number I gave you about dairy intolerance. Oh, and about your house before and after pics, just wait until you have more than one! Ha Ha Ha. Patrick and I have gotten rid of so much of OUR stuff to make room for the kids' stuff that we have no more room! Toys in every room! (We don't have a basement or playroom, so they are in which ever room we are.