Recently, we've made the switch from disposable to cloth diapers.
And if you know me, you know I like wordplay...so...changing diapers...get it? ;)
I'm by no means an expert on cloth diapers at this stage, but with a little experience under my belt now I felt it was time to share a bit of what I've learned about cloth diapering.
First of all, my mom thought I was nuts to take this on because she (like many people) thinks of cloth diapers as the classic Gerber prefolds (above) that many people use for cleaning or burp rags. She remembers using these with my older brother and having big time leak issues. I'll admit, I wondered if this would be a big problem. I was also wondering if I wanted to deal with even more laundry than I already have to do. And yeah, initially cloth diapers are more expensive than disposables so I was wondering if I should spend the money in case I ended up not liking them. But...after noticing that I was going through about a box of diapers a week, I decided to investigate cloth diapering. Throwing out two completely full bags of used diapers from my diaper pail a week made me feel really sick about what I was doing environmentally even though it is more convenient. Honestly, so much about what we (in the U.S.) consider necessary or more desirable because it's "more convenient" makes me ill because there are so many long term effects that come from that convenience, and many people never think about those effects or really seem to care.
Okay, back off my soapbox...
So, sure, the prefolds are diapers and I'm sure many people still use prefolds...BUT cloth diapering has really advanced since this type of diaper! There are so many great options out there that I had difficulty deciding which diapers to try out. I did some research online Because there's not a store locally (unless I drive down to Pittsburgh with a 6-year-old and a newborn), I ended up purchasing some used cloth diapers from eBay. I went with some BumGenius 3.0 All-in-One (AIO) diapers, a couple of Fuzzibunz pocket diapers, and some "off-brand" cloth pocket diapers that I bought after trying out the BG and Fuzzibunz to see if going with cheaper diapers would work (they were only $4.50 each!).
First, the BumGenius diapers:
The BumGenius 3.0 AIOs are exactly like a disposable in that they are already completely "assembled" and you just put them on the baby. BumGenius has since phased these 3.0s out in favor of 4.0s (one-size diapers like those I mention below), but I wanted to try them because they seemed like a good place to start since they were so much like the disposables that I was used to putting on Jackson. I also thought this would be a good option for winning over my husband to the cloth diaper cause, who had never changed a diaper before Jackson came along...and who was good-natured enough to go along with my crazy idea of cloth diapering but probably thought it wouldn't work out.
Now, the pocket diapers that I bought off of eBay:These diapers and the Fuzzibunz (at the very top on Jackson's cute little bum) are considered "All-in-Twos" (AI2s) or because there is a pocket that you stuff with an absorbent insert, and then you separate them for laundering. Fuzzibunz have snaps and come in different sizes so you have to buy different diapers as the baby grows. The cheaper pocket diapers that I got from eBay have snaps also, but they are made to grow with the baby by snapping to three different sizes. Fuzzibunz also come in this "one-size" variety.Besides the diapers, the supplies you need for cloth diapering are pretty simple and not too difficult to get:
You need a (1) diaper pail to keep your dirty dipes in, (2) a waterproof "wet bag" to line the diaper pail, (3) cloth wipes (Well, I guess this isn't "necessary," but if you're washing the diapers, you might as well wash the wipes too!) and (4) some cloth-diaper safe laundry soap. I ordered all of these things from Amazon except the trash can, which I got at Wal-Mart.
The Planet Wise diaper pail liner/wet bags are awesome! I don't know what other options there are out there, but they had every color imaginable so you could pick your favorite color or match the nursery theme color. I ordered two because it works out better to have one to line the diaper pail while the other is in the wash.
I decided to try out a couple different kinds of cloth wipes that I found: GroVia cotton cloth wipes and Kissaluvs wipes. After trying them both, I have to say that I like the GroVia ones better because they seem softer. The Kissaluvs are definitely durable though, and I can see why they are highly recommended. I would recommend the GroVia for little babies since you don't typically need to scrub their little bums. I would also say that if you don't want to spend the money on buying "cloth wipes," you could definitely just buy some washcloths from a chain store for a lot cheaper. Some other bloggers that use cloth diapers recommended the cheap baby wash cloths from Target, and I've seen similar ones at Wal-Mart.
I also ordered some Kissaluvs Diaper Lotion Potion, which is a wipe solution that you can use to clean baby's bum...you're supposed to mix it with water to dilute it and spray a little on the baby before wiping. I don't like the scent much and I actually think wipe solution is pretty unnecessary. I just pour a bit of water over the wipes in my wipes warmer to make them damp, and this gets Jackson plenty clean. There are recipes on the internet to make your own wipes solution, or my friend Annie recommends Honey Chunks wipe solution and says that it smells awesome. :) I'm thinking of ordering some to try.
Last, but perhaps most importantly, you need some laundry detergent which is cloth diaper-friendly. Most commercial detergents contain a lot of extras which can interfere with the absorbency of cloth diapers, which is obviously a major problem! I opted to try Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda, and I have to say that I can't complain about it. It gets the diapers fresh and clean. Here's a list of other "diaper-safe" detergents. You don't want to use traditional fabric softener on cloth diapers for the same reason (can coat the diapers and affect absorbency), but to make the diaps smell good you can try something like these Nellie's Lavender Fragrance Sticks. I'll let you know what I think after I get some.
And that's it for supplies! In Part II (when I get a chance haha), I'll let you know my reactions to cloth diapering and my suggestions. :)
P.S. These great posts (Newborn Diapering and Cloth Diapering Guide) from Becoming Mamas is where I started my research and really helped me understand how to start this whole process and which supplies I needed to have to begin my cloth diapering experience. I highly recommend reading through them if you're interested!