Well, well, well...it's taken me a couple of weeks, but I'm back with the second installment of my cloth diapering posts. I know, I know...you've been eagerly awaiting my second thrilling treatise on diapers lol. Life is crazy hectic with a six-year-old and a two-month-old, but I think I get a tiny bit better at it each week. Tomorrow we'll be having quite the adventure because we'll be taking our daughter, son, and twelve-year-old niece to a local amusement/water park, Waldameer.Anyway, back to my cloth diapering post...here are my thoughts regarding my experience with cloth diapers (CDs) and my advice to you if you're considering using CDs. The following thoughts are probably a bit random, but that's what you get when you're talking about a sleep-deprived mama of two. ;)
- Why Do I Cloth Diaper?
I was intrigued by the idea of cloth diapering while I was pregnant with Jackson. Spending time on different pregnancy websites and forums made me aware of cloth diapering as I actually had no idea that people still cloth diapered their babies. I was curious to know how they worked, since it seemed like it was a common thing for mamas to do these day. I initially decided that it would be too big of an initial investment, but when Jackson was about two weeks old I started looking into it again. I mainly decided to give it a go because (1) I wanted to see if I could...those of you who know me in real life know that I love a challenge, (2) I hated the idea of throwing away so many disposables because it just seemed so wasteful both in terms of money and resources, and (3) I imagined that CDs would feel so much better than the disposables on my little guy's bottom because some of the disposables feel scratchy and I hate when those little gel absorbency beads come out of the diapers onto babies' skin! I also heard that it's easier to potty train babies that are cloth diapered because they are more aware of when they're going. Not sure if that's true, but it would be pretty awesome if it is!
- Washing Cloth Diapers
Many people decide against CDing, thinking that it will be too time-consuming to keep the diapers laundered or that they will be inconvenienced by having to rinse the diapers (you don't have to) or scrape the poo off before placing them in your diaper pail (you don't have to do this until the baby starts solids, because, well...things start to solidify, if you get my drift). In all honesty, I have not felt that it is much more time-consuming or inconvenient to have this additional step of cleaning the diapers your babe uses. Does it take a little more time and thought than simply changing a disposable and throwing it in the trash? Yes. But, I would argue that it doesn't take much more effort to launder and use cloth diapers because washing them is mostly about remembering to throw them in the washer and dryer before you run out of diapers. You don't really have to fold them and put them away as most other clothing that you launder, so it's just a matter of staying on top of it and putting them in the washer and moving them to the dryer. How much more energy does it do that?
To wash cloth diapers, you are supposed to put them in the washer for two cycles. First, you put them in for a cold rinse and spin. Then, you wash them on a hot cycle with diaper-safe detergent. Afterwards, you throw them in the dryer for 60-90 minutes on high to dry them and to sanitize them. (Or line dry them to save electricity!) Poof, you're done and have fresh diaps to put on your baby's bum. Truthfully, the only time that this has been inconvenient is when I have another load of laundry started and forget about getting that load moved through the washer and dryer and put away. CDing has probably made me a little more accountable with my laundry because I do make more of an effort to remember to get my laundry dried and put away instead of leaving it in the dryer and "fluffing" the load once or twice to get the wrinkles out. ;)
At this point, I haven't had the experience with having to rinse/scrape off solid feces. From what I've read and heard, it's not that huge of a deal as usually you can just shake it off into the toilet and flush. A friend of mine who CDs her toddler said that using a diaper sprayer is a lifesaver.
- Leaks and Blow-Outs?
In all honesty, Jackson has only had leaks while wearing cloth diapers if (a) the diaper he is wearing is not the right size or (b) I left him in it too long. Thus far, I have not had any "poopslosions" while he's worn cloth; the CDs really seem to hold that well. One of the things that I've noticed about cloth diapers is that you really need to be conscious of how long your babe has been in them, whereas with disposables they seem to have an almost unlimited capacity to hold pee. It seems that Jackson needs to be changed about every two to three hours when he's wearing cloth, but I don't think that's abnormal at this point since he's still considered a newborn and goes a lot because he eats often.
Though I haven't tried this, I know that many CDing moms "double-stuff" their pocket diapers by putting two inserts into the pockets to extend the absorbing capacity of the diaps for nap times and overnight. I'm thinking of ordering some hemp inserts because I've heard that they're amazing at absorbing.
- Opinions on What Cloth Diapers to Use
To save the most money, you're going to want to go with one size diapers that snap to the size of the baby. In this way, the same diapers that you put on your newborn will adjust in size to fit your toddler until they're ready to potty-train. At first, these are going to be pretty bulky on your little baby because they are essentially folded over and snapped to make them "smaller," but that's the price you pay for cloth and not having to buy disposables every week. And, of course, this will change as time goes on, the babe gets bigger, and the diapers don't need to be snapped down to the smallest size. This is not really a concern for me, but I know some moms wouldn't want the bulk.
I would advise going for pocket diapers because they takes so much less time to dry in the dryer. Personally, the BumGenius 3.0 and Fuzzibunz Perfect Size have worked great, and though I've had more leaks with the cheaper ones that I bought on eBay I think that was due to the diapers being a little too big on him and not fitting well around the legs. I also read somewhere on the web that cloth diapers tend to absorb better the more they are washed. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but it could be accurate in this case because they didn't work well in the beginning but now they are just fine. So, I guess my final two cents on which diapers to get is this: make sure the diapers fit your little one well, and you'll likely be happy with them! :)
- How Many Cloth Diapers Should You Get?
If you're CDing a newborn, I'd get at least 20-24 diapers in your stockpile since you'll go through an average of 10 diapers a day (yikes!). Typically, this allows me to wash every other day instead of every day (as I did in the beginning with only 10 diaps), which makes it that much more manageable to cloth diaper. I'm not sure how many you'd need for an older baby, but I would assume fewer than that since they don't go as much...but I guess I'll find out as I go...haha.
- Cloth Wipes
I LOVE using cloth wipes! My favorite of the two I bought are the GroVia Cotton Cloth Wipes. Even when I use disposables at home, I tend to reach for a cloth wipe over a throw-away wipe just because they seem to get the little guy's bum cleaner. I think this is because they're a lot thicker than disposable wipes, and you can definitely use just one and feel like you got the baby clean. I'm not sure how other mamas do it, but when I use throw-away wipes, I typically get the baby clean with one and then use another "just to make sure" he's clean. I put my cloth wipes in a wipe warmer (even though I will agree that this is one of those nice to have yet unnecessary baby supplies), dump enough warm water over them to make them damp, and that's it. I would imagine it feels better to have a clean, warm cloth rather than a cool disposable wipe...kinda like getting those nice warm cloths to wipe your face at the end of a long airplane ride. ;) Oh, and I just put the cloth wipes in the wash with my diapers...no need to separate them or anything.
- Commitment to Cloth Diapering
If you're thinking about cloth diapering but aren't quite sure if you want to commit until you know if it works for your family...try it part time and see what you think! There's no shame in buying a few CDs and trying them out while you use disposables the majority of the time. Honestly, I am not 100% cloth diapering because sometimes I run out of diapers before I get them completely through the wash/dry cycle. I sometimes use disposables overnight because I don't want to have a leak wake my little supersoaker up, and as I said before, disposables tend to absorb a ridiculous amount of pee before leaking. I also use disposables when I'm out and about because (and yes, I know this contradicts my earlier rant on how many people choose convenience over what's really important...) it's just easier not to have to worry about remembering to take wet/dirty cloth diapers out of the diaper bag when I get home. Eventually, I will get into the groove of things when I'm on the go and get a "travel wet bag" (like one of these) to keep in the diaper bag.