I was at a baby shower a couple years ago and someone made a crack about using cloth diapers to the upcoming new mom. Another young mom piped up stating that she uses cloth diapers. She was met with weird looks and exclamations of odd amazement. I remembering wondering why anyone would want to do that. I mean the two obvious reasons are for the environment and to save money but is it really worth the extra work of washing diapers? Wouldn't cloth diapers leak everywhere? I also pictured the kind that my mom used on me. The white ones that need big safety pins with a duck on them. I just thought diapers were just one of those things you had to buy, use and throw away. It was part of the expense of having a baby. A part of me admired that young mom for doing something that was almost taboo. She must be some sort of ultra mom or hippie mom.
Then, I read this blog post over at Young House Love. It is all about using cloth diapers with their kiddo. It completely changed my outlook on cloth diapering. I began doing some poking around on the internet and realized there is a whole cloth diaper revolution happening that just hadn't touched around here yet. These diapers weren't the old fashioned kind I remembered. These cloth diapers were pretty, with bright colors and had adjustable snaps. They aren't as awful as I once thought!
I began to do some serious research on different cloth diaper brands and how to care for them. I found that there is a whole community of moms that are using cloth diapers with wonderful success. I also discovered there is more to cloth diapers than just some fabric strapped to a baby's bottom. You are not only doing a great thing keeping the disposables out of landfills and eventually saving some money it is healthier for your baby. Disposable diapers are full of chemicals that are right up next to your baby's skin. Some children are very sensitive to these chemicals and it can cause rashes. Cloth diapers are soft and organic. There are also special suds free detergents and special bottom creams to use all to protect the absorbency of the diapers. This means no typical laundry detergent and no A & D ointment or Desitin. All things I am used to using. I also found a lot of alternatives for the typical staples that I kept at the ready for baby bums. Like all natural shea butter creams but more on all that a little later. Cloth diaper babies supposedly have less rash problems than with disposable diapers. It is better for their skin.
We chose the bumGenius all-in-ones that have the inserts sewn into the diaper and the snap closures. You can add additional inserts for more absorbency but so far we don't need it. They are designed to adjust size through the baby's whole diaper experience until potty training.
They start at size one though so we used the disposable kind until he fit into them. It took about a month and a half before they truly fit him well around the thigh area.
What a show off. Aren't cloth diapers a lot cuter than disposables?
A nice clean diaper gets snapped onto a cute little baby behind. A little more care goes into putting on a cloth diaper than a disposable diaper. Nothing to crazy and before you know it it is a habit. The cotton soaker lining has a little extra fabric length to it. I pull it forward to the front of the diaper to give a little more absorbency on the front. For a baby girl you will want to put this in the middle.
I slather on some cloth diaper approved bottom cream. We use Shea Moisture which is all natural and smells amazing. It can also be used for a lot of other things besides protecting little baby bums.
BumGenuis sells a diaper sprayer but we found ours for about $20 on ebay.The hubby got it on our toilet in under 10 minutes. I fold the diaper in half, inside out and spray off one side, flip it and spray off the other. Let the water shake off a bit then fold it back right side out and put it in a large wet bag that hangs on the bathroom door. (Urine diapers go immediately to the wet bag.)
We bought our wet bags from Planet Wise. Planet Wise is a very nifty company. You should check them out. We have a large one in aqua swirl and two small ones (I don't remember that patterns name and couldn't find it on their website) for the diaper bag.
We can fit all 17 in the large bag with room to spare and about 3 diapers in one small bag. We wait until there are are about two or three diapers left to wash them. With 17 diapers, we wash diapers just about every other day. BumGenius also sell cloth diaper detergent but I did a little research and decided to make my own. It has some of the same ingredients that go into my homemade laundry detergent.
Cloth Diaper Detergent Recipe:
-3 large boxes of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
-1 large box of 20 Mule Team Borax
-1 regular size tub of OxyClean
This makes a huge amount of detergent. I went ahead and bought a plastic tote to mix it and store it in. Then I filled the leftover OxyClean tub to use on a regular basis and refill. Use only 1 or 2 tablespoons per load so I measured that out in the OxyClean scoop and marked a line with a Sharpie. This is a nonsudsing detergent so it is safe to use in your HE washers. We have a plain ol' top loader though.
To wash the cloth diapers we set our washer on the medium load setting with cold water. The instructions we found didn't say to add detergent here but we do. Let that fill up and add the diapers straight out of the bag then throw in any wet bags that need freshening up. Listen for the rinse cycle and flip the water to medium/hot and add your detergent again. I then turn the knob back to the beginning of the wash cycle and let the entire wash/rinse cycles run through. Then one more rinse cycle for good measure.
I have read instances of people needing to strip their cloth diapers when they become less absorbent and start having an unusual amount of leakage. This can happen as a result of detergent build up or someone using the wrong kind of bottom cream. I haven't done this yet but will add that in if I ever do. If you want to check out some info on cloth diaper stripping I found this blog post at zany-zebra.com.
We did have an instance of skunky smelling urine diapers for a bit. We think it was a someone (me) not doing the longest wash with the detergent on the hottest setting. I was just letting the typical rinse cycle be the hottest detergent wash and it just wasn't long enough. After a few proper washes the smell disappated.
To dry, I prefer to hang the diapers out on the clothes line but it has been a rainy spring here. At first I tried hanging them around the house to dry but that wasn't working. So we toss them into the dryer with a damp towel if we have to. This summer it should be no problem to hang them out on the line every time. The line dry method helps prevent wear and tear with your diapers (just like with your clothes). You will have less possibilities of holes in your liners and heat ruining your elastic. The bonus with them hanging out in the sun is that the sun bleaches out the stains! So if we had to dry them in the dryer and then the sun comes out later that day, I will lay them on the deck table to sun bleach them. It only takes about an hour and works like magic. I do this with poo stained clothes now too! A nice sunny window spot would work as well.
We have been using cloth diapers for a little over two months. I am very happy with them. In all honesty, they aren't that much work. It is now just part of our routine around here. Daddy is a big help and had actually been the one doing most of the washing of the cloth diapers. Baby seems pretty happy in them. They seem very comfy and don't have the crunch diaper sound. They are a little more bulky but I think that has a lot to do with them being on the smallest sizing.
I haven't noticed any more or less leakage than a regular disposable diaper. We were using Pampers Swaddlers and had just as many (if not more) leaks and blow outs. We have never had one of those awful up the back blowouts yet but there have been times when I have taken off the cloth diaper and poo is all the way up to the back elastic. I would like to believe that is doing its job and preventing that from happening. Also, cloth diapers do not have those absorbent polymers that are in the disposable diapers. So your baby will feel the wetness more so than if they were wearing a disposable. That is why we are generous with the protective bottom cream and change him often. You would think that might cause more chance for diaper rash but we seriously haven't had any issues other than that one time the very first week.
My hopes are that with them being able to feel the wetness it will make potty training a little easier. We ran into that problem with our first child. He didn't mind the Pull Ups because they were still absorbent enough to not be uncomfortable. We had to ditch the Pull Ups and use cloth training pants with a plastic cover and it worked like a charm. That is an entire different post and we will address that when we get there in a couple years. As for now we will keep on cloth diapering! I would like to get a few more just to stretch the washing schedule to at least three days. As for overnighters away from home, we haven't had to deal with that yet. A lot of parents keep disposables on hand for visits overnight or to use at night if the soak through while sleeping. We did reserve about 4 dispoable size 1 diapers if needed. I think we have only used one of them and it was before we had this washing system down. We will keep you posted if we find we need to use disposables at night!
One more super cute baby picture!
Let me know if you have any questions! I will do my best to answer them!
Thanks for checking us out!
***This post is entirely based on my opinions and own research not a sponsored post. Any products featured in the blog post are listed because I found them and tried them myself but if you are from BumGenius and want to send me more diapers to try I'll take em! :)