Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cloth Diapers Update {23 months in}

I started my blog, originally, to blog mostly about cloth diapers, then I changed to be about all things G, then it become just all things parenting / my life.

I can't believe, however, that's it's been SO long since I posted about cloth diapers. I figured I should do an update, seeing as how I've got nearly two straight years of experience (From newborn to toddler) using a variety of of cloth diapers in a variety of situations.

Best Advice

First, I will always, always tell anyone interested in cloth diapering to get, install, and use a diaper sprayer. It is vital to your success, in my opinion. I am not of the type that likes to swirl diapers, scrape poop, or anything in between. Spraying off diapers may get messy a little bit (back splash, etc), but it's way better than the alternative. I even spray newborn EBF (exclusively breast fed) diapers, because I don't want to throw them into the wash all gross-like, even if some moms/blogs tell you that you can because EBF poop is water-soluable. I believe that, I just think it's gross. Then there's the matter of poop once the kid's started solids...that must be removed prior to washing, get the sprayer. I beg you.
We have the Bum Genius Diaper sprayer.

It's messed up once, we contacted Bum Genius, who put us in touch with the manufacturer and we received a replacement part. Good as new.


I've written before about how I hate prefolds. I've come around on them a bit. I think it just takes some getting used to, and appreciating them for what they are. They are like the $5 bottle of moscato wine that stays in your fridge for the nights when you just want a glass to unwind...versus the $35 bottle you buy for when you are hosting a party. Bad analogy for those of you who don't drink wine...suffice it to say, prefolds get the job done and are cheap. Pockets, all-in-ones, and the like are a bit fancier, more expensive, and can (but don't have to) work a little better/easier.

Instances where I prefer prefolds to other types of diapers;
  1. Newborns. They go through a lot of diapers and prefolds are cheap. Newborns also don't pee a huge amount before you change them anyway, so as long as you have a good cover, leaks really shouldn't be an issue (unless you are a naughty cloth-diaper-er and don't use Eco Sprout like Kaylene told you). I also like prefolds for newborns because in our household, newborns poop nearly ever changing, and spraying poop off of a prefold is much easier than trying to get into the crevices of a fitted or all-in-one or pocket. Prefolds are also less maintenance, they wash and dry simpler.
  2. When your kid is over 2 months old, and your other diapers are dirty.

Detergent & Laundry Tips

This is probably the most contested area of using cloth diapers. Some users swear they can use their regular detergent and the diapers work just fine--with no rashes or leaks--but other users {like me} find that a specialized detergent is necessary to get the diapers clean and to keep the baby rash/leak free.
Cloth diapering will require you to experiment, not only with the type of diapers you prefer, but with your wash routine.
My preferred detergent, after trying 4 different types, is Eco Sprout. I am super loyal to them now, after trying them over a year ago. Eco Sprout comes in many different scents (including unscented), sizes, and is super cloth diaper friendly. It washes out of diapers completely, and doesn't require the use of any extra anti-bacterial additive. It works for HE and regular machines. Since starting it, G (nor J) has been pretty much rash free and my diapers aren't smelly. They get super clean, especially when coupled with sunning (letting diapers dry in the naturally-bleaching sunshine).
Our routine is tried and true over several years. It involves a light cold rinse with a tiny bit of detergent, a hot heavy cycle with 2 tbsp ish of detergent, with 2 extra cold rinses to insure no build-up is left. This might be a bit excessive, but I have been through the stripping of diapers before and I NEVER want to do it again. It was absolutely ridiculous and involved my husband and I skimming soap suds off the surface of the water in our machine, over and over again, for hours.... it was when we were switching from other detergents to Eco Sprout. I added an extra rinse to that routine when we were doing laundry ever third-fifth day depending on G's diaper use. Toddler wash routines are different than newborn routines, and currently, newborn diapers trump toddler diapers. This is because G has plenty of diapers, and doesn't use many these days, so before J showed up, I really only did laundry about once a week or so. We are currently doing laundry everyday, we have way less of an ammonia smell build up in the pail, which is a fresh (pun intended) change from the past 8 or so months. Sometimes the ammonia stench would be so bad I about barfed into the bag when I was hauling it to the laundry. The best way to avoid that is to do laundry more often...but I couldn't warrant it when there were only like 4 diapers in the pail per day.
If you don't use cloth diapers, you probably think all of this sounds complicated and crazy....but it really isn't. It takes a little bit of getting used to doing cloth diaper laundry, but once you've got your routine and detergent figured out, you're golden and it becomes second nature. If you are just starting out with cloth diapers, stick with it and I promise you'll be glad you did. You save money, you save the environment (the amount of water/energy used to wash the diapers is STILL less than what it takes to manufacture disposable diapers, then factor in the reduced waste in landfills), and you save your kid's behind. Bonus, you save even more money when you have more kids, since you've already got the cloth diaper stash bought (we have entered this zone, and it's magical!).

Brand Loyalty

Here's a little section where I want to share my favorite brands with you, simply because I have the least amount of problems with them, and feel they work the best on my kids.
Thirsties. Hands down, my favorite brand of cloth diapers. They have something for everyone and they are USA made, some even by work at home moms! They are based out of Colorado and have great people on their team (I've worked with them a decent amount, you can read my reviews here).
Thirsties has
  • All-in-Ones (diapers that are basically like disposables to use, in that all you do is put them on...there's no 'stuffing,' folding, pinning, or the like...simple attach to baby and go)
  • Pockets (with hemp and microfiber inserts, and openings on both sides for easy stuffing)
  • Fitteds (diapers that fasten onto baby in a 'fitted' manner, but need a cover because they don't have a water proof cover)
  • Prefolds (think 'old school' style of diapers that need a waterproof cover and need to be folded or fastened on to baby)
  • Covers (Thirsties is probably best known for their amazing leak proof (nearly 100% rate in our house) diaper covers that come in super cute prints, two different closures, and two different styles-one is a bit wider cut for going over thicker diapers and has specific sizing and one is a bit trimmer and comes in 'duo' sizing to maximize your savings)
  • many accessories like cloth wipes, diaper wipe spray, cloth diaper safe rash ointment, liners, inserts, wet bags, detergent, etc...
I also like Rump-a-Rooz, including Lil Joey newborn diapers. RaR has great double inner gussets for keeping in messes, and the microfiber inserts are super absorbent. They are fairly bulky, especially on smaller kids, but they never leak (I don't use them at nap or night time, though). Lil Joey diapers, especially the newer model that doesn't bunch up as bad as the old style, are soooo easy to use on newborns because they are all-in-one style. When you are super tired in the middle of the night, all you do is snap one of these on and voila! you are done. The down side to all-in-one styles, though, is they are harder to spray poop off, and they take longer to dry. RaR aren't the cheapest diaper, but they are made overseas, so their prices are a bit lower than some other brands.

I really like our one Swaddlebees Simplex 2.0 diaper, it's trim and easy to use. Their diapers are super cute too. It's never leaked for us, but the main downside is the cost...and they just announced their prices are going up. Super Bummer. They are American made, though, so you have to think of how important that may or may not be to you.

I love Tots Bots. They are super cute, from across the pond, easy, and don't leak. They are, however, really expensive. So for that, I cannot rank them highly, but if you have the cash.... BUY BUY BUY.

You can check out the other brands in our stash here.

Extended Use of Diapers

So something you should know is that I am a half fraud. For G, I use Huggies Overnights disposables for night time. Oh I so wanted to champion night time cloth diapering, and when G was younger, I did. I found several diapers that were worthy of overnight use....but then she got bigger, slept longer, peed more. After a night of going through all of her sheets and all of our cloth overnight options in one night, due to crazy leaks... I threw in the towel. Those Huggies hold so much it's kind of repulsive, but they work, and G sleep through the night, and I don't have to blame it on cloth diapers if she doesn't. Moral of the story, give it a go, but don't let a high-and-mighty objective trump your family's sleep. Not.worth.it. (if your kiddo doesn't have a problem with overnight cloth diapering, hooray for you)
For G's nap time I use fitted diapers with fleece covers. They work like a charm. I have two fitteds that I use; Thirsties Fitted with a hemp insert, and Mother-Ease Sandy's Diaper with a stay-dry insert. I use Londonware (Etsy shop) fleece covers. If these are both dirty, I use a Target Brand disposable that I keep on hand for emergencies / baby sitters (Rare occurrence).

Random Thoughts

I so cannot wait for potty training to be complete. Regardless of if you use disposables or cloth, there's nothing quite like changing a toddler poopy diaper. I'm over it.

J is 100% in cloth, unless there's an emergency, I have one pack of disposables in a drawer.

I'm glad we did cloth diapers, and I will suggest it to anyone that asks. It's lovely no to shell out hundreds of dollars for diapers we will never get to re-use. Like I mentioned above, since we are on kid #2 and I only bought him like 2 new diapers, we are in the pure 'profit' margin now.

Cloth wipes...meh. Read my past posts about it, scour the interwebs for tips, but disposable wipes sure are handy, and more times than not, we use them.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of great information and very well put! We are hoping to cloth diaper Baby #2 from the time we get home from the hospital (didn't start til 2.5mos with Alethea) and this will be our first go at prefold diapering (other than the trial I did with Alethea). I bought several Thirsties wraps to go with GMD prefolds and I am hoping those last us through the newborn phase until all our pockets fit. :-)


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