So, by popular demand, I am going to do a little post about our cloth diapering system. I know this doesn’t interest everyone, so skip it if its not for you. But in the last month I have had at least five friends ask me if I can explain our diapering “system” and have had a dozen friends decide to do cloth once realizing I did it. I am not sure if that’s flattering...”Wow, I thought it was hard, but if even MEG can do it, it must be easy...” Haha...anyways, yes, I am someone who gets excited about ideas and then sometimes abandons them. So, for all the friends that inquired, yep, even I can do this.
My husband (who is totally on board with cloth diapering) says that the best thing we did was buy 24 diapers before we even knew we were getting Eli (when we were “paper pregnant” or if you are “pregnant-pregnant”). We bought 24 one-size Fuzzibunz during a sale, buy 4 and get 2 free. We also got free shipping. So it came out to about $10 a diaper. Having made our initial investment, we felt like we had to stick with it. Yes, its more expensive up front than disposables. So you take that initial “hit” to buy the diapers. But THAT is why we stuck through it, even during the learning phase. Now we are just saving money.
There is a bit of a learning curve, to develop your routine. It took us a few days to figure out how to size them just right. They close with snaps and there is adjustable elastic, fitting babies from 8-35lbs. We had to figure out our washing, storing, and use while out of the house.
We use our regular washer. Its not gross. The essence of a washer is that is WASHES things. When the diapers are clean, your washer is clean. We have since acquired more diapers than the original 24. We can go 4 days without washing, though I don’t always go that long. I do a cold cycle no soap, a hot cycle with a scoop of Lulu’s in the fluff detergent. And then I run an extra short hot cycle. The three cycles is not necessary, but since I wash every 4 days, I feel like it helps for the diapers that have been sitting a few days. I then dry them on delicate/no heat. You cannot use most regular detergents on cloth diapers because they leave a residue. There are varying opinions on bleach, but it breaks the diapers down quicker, so we don’t use it. We occasionally use Oxyclean. The Lulu's is cheap, made locally, and I am still on my first $14 bag from when Eli was born.
For clean diapers, we us a large basket in our living room. They take up a little more room than a box of disposables, but look pretty and colorful in a basket. For dirty diapers, we have a couple places they stay. In the living room, we have a large Planet Wise wet bag that hangs on a doorknob. (We actually have two of these, which is nice to alternate for washing, but one is really all I would need. I got a free one, which is why we have two). In the diaper bag, we have two small wet bags which a friend made me. That way one is in the wash, one is in the diaper bag. I have a diaper bag with two compartments, so that the dirty diapers aren’t in with snacks and clean diapers. They are sealed in a bag, they don’t stink, but it just makes me feel better. We also have a 13 gallon garbage can in Eli’s room lined with a Planet Wise pail liner. This is where I dump the various wetbags til laundry day. Then you wash the diapers, bags and all. For daycare, we send the hanging Planet Wise wet bag. It has two compartments- one for clean diapers and one for dirty. I fill the front with clean diapers and they put the dirties in the other compartment. You can get the Planet Wise wet bags at Happy Baby Company
I was most scared about using cloth diapers away from the house. I don’t know why, cause it’s really not that different. I talk to a lot of people who only do them at home. We have found it easy to do out of the house. My diaper bag contains two diapers, the wet bag, a spray bottle of California Baby Diaper Area Spray, and a little sack of cloth wipes (more on that later). I leave a spare diaper in my car. Aside from taking the diaper with you instead of tossing it, the routine is the same as disposables. I do need a slightly larger diaper bag since they are a little bigger.
As for cloth wipes, its a personal choice. Its easier to throw the whole diaper with wipes in the pail, if they are washable. We do have disposable wipes too, and they sometimes run through the washer. They just sorta ball up and you have to pick them out of the clean laundry. It doesn’t hurt anything, but the cloth wipes are simpler. I take dry ones with me out of the house and use the California Baby diaper spray, and at home keep wet ones in an old wipes container with a mix of baby soap, water, and tea tree oil. Smells amazing. Someone made us the wipes. Just squares of flannel with a zig-zag stitch on the edge to stop fraying. I can’t believe how much cloth wipes sell for online. Make them! Or have my friend make them. She takes orders!
So, we started with our initial 24. What do we have now? It can get addicting buying them, cause they are so cute! I have bought some more, gotten some more free through blogging, and hit some awesome sales. Cloth diapers have amazing used resale value, so when you are done with kids you can eBay them.
24 original one-size Fuzzibunz (love love love them. Still my favorite. It's love or hate, a lot of people hate them)
7 Elite Fuzzibunz ( I don’t like their new version as much)
3 Bum Genius (I got these from someone who used them a handful of times, I really like them a lot although I hated them at first)
12 Kawaii Velcro closure diapers (recently bought on ebay for $6 a piece, our daycare was having an issue with the snaps and getting them tight. I really like these for long trips away from the house, as they are HUGE but super long-lasting)
4 overnight diaper combos. Eli is a heavy wetter. We use a Bamboozle fitted diaper from Totsbots, with an extra insert over top (looks like a maxi pad made of cotton) and a strip of fleece I cut from the craft store. We use Sweet Pea covers, they work amazing and are super cheap.
Aside from our overnight diapers which have a cover, the rest of ours are pocket diapers.
(Photo from www.fuzzibunz.com)
This means they look like a regular diaper, and you stuff the back with inserts made of various materials for absorbency. Each diaper comes with two cotton inserts. I have bought additionally 6 hemp and 4 bamboo inserts, which I add to a diaper if we are going to be running a lot of errands and might not get a chance to change the diaper for 3-4 hours. I know they go a LOT longer, but I always change Eli at least every 2 hours because he is super sensitive. I hardly ever have leaks, and never have poo escape. I was surprised on vacation how many leaks we had, and poo shooting up the back of the disposable onto Eli's back. I also hate the gross squishy feeling of the gel when it gets wet. But this is just my experience.
It's not for everyone, and I am not on any type of soapbox. If it works for you, great. If not, great. This is just cause everyone is always asking "How do you do that? Why do you do that? Is it hard?" Out of the probably 30 moms I know that started cloth diapering in the past year, all but two are still doing it. It's not that hard. Our main, number one, top reason is money. The second is, Eli seems to break out a lot more from disposables. The chemicals in them can be really harsh. We have only had one bout of diaper rash in 14 months, it lasted about a week. The third reason is the environment, cloth diapers are renewable. I have heard arguments about "how much water it takes to wash them," but its in no way the same thing as plastic in landfills. Also, our electric and water bills have not changed AT ALL since starting to cloth diaper. So that's not really an argument, either.
Opinions? Thoughts? If you cloth diaper, what are you favorite brands? What's different about your systems? If you were cloth diapering and stopped, why?