Lola Gives Her Take on Cloth Diapers

Well, I said I’d give a cloth diaper update at 6 weeks, but I’ve quickly learned not to place deadlines on myself with a baby.  But here, finally, is my take on cloth diapers.  (And here is my original post on cloth diapers.)

I really like them!  I feel like they not only save money, but they are healthier and more comfortable for little Poppyseed.

Okay, so I guess the best way to cover the diapers is by just answering the most commonly asked questions.  Here goes.

1.  What kind of diapers do you use? 

The diapers I have are below.

  • Yellow – This is the BumGenius Elemental all-in-one diaper.  It requires nothing but the diaper itself, because it has absorbent cloth layers sewn into it.  The pro of this diaper is that it’s easy to use.  I don’t have to stuff it.  The con of this diaper is that when the baby poops, it’s harder to clean because the poop gets between the layers of fabric.  Sorry, I just said poop on a blog.  I know that’s gross.  I just don’t know how to talk about diapers on a blog without throwing the word poop in there once or twice.
  • Green – This is the BumGenius 4.0 pocket diaper with snaps.  Pocket diaper means just that – there is a pocket and you take an insert and stuff it in there.  This is actually my preferred diaper, even though it has snaps and even though it requires me stuffing and unstuffing the insert into the diaper.  It just seems to fit the best.
  • White – This is the BumGenius hook and loop pocket diaper.  Hook and loop is just a fancy phrase for velcro.  I thought I’d like velcro the best, but actually I find that it’s a slightly bulkier fit.
  • Pink – This is a brand called GroVia.  It comes with an insert that is part hemp, part cotton.  Hemp is more absorbent than cotton so this is nice for heavy wetters.  It just snaps right into the diaper, so it’s a little easier than stuffing it.

I also have a really cheap brand of pocket diapers that are called SunBaby diapers.  I’d recommend these if you aren’t so sure you want to try cloth diapers at all and are afraid to spend a lot of $$$ only to find out you prefer disposables.  These are fine, but they have 6 snaps per diaper instead of 4 snaps per diaper, meaning they just take a little longer to put on the baby.  And in my opinon, they just don’t fit the baby quite as well as the more, er, upscale diapers.   I’ve also found that these really don’t hold up quite like the nicer brands, as a few snaps have come off after several months of using them.

Okay.  So that covers which kinds of cloth diapers I’m using.

2.  Do you use cloth diapers all the time? 

No.  I use them when it’s practical.   I find it funny that when I tell other moms that I use cloth diapers, they seem to triumphantly point out that I can’t possibly use cloth diapers and take my baby to daycare.  Well, that’s true, but guess what?  My baby does not live in daycare 24/7.

I use them at home.  I use them when I’m just running a few errands and will only be away from my house for a few hours.  I do not use them when she is at daycare, and I do not use them on long road trips.

So on a typical Monday, she is in a cloth diaper in the morning while I get ready for work.  I put her in a disposable diaper right before I take her to daycare.  Then as soon as I pick her up from daycare, I put her back in her cloth diapers.  Whereas on a Saturday, I am with her all day long and therefore I leave her in her cloth diapers all day.  I also recently went on a trip to Florida.  It was a 10 hour road trip to get there.  We used disposables the whole way there, but I did pack 6 cloth diapers to use once we got to the condo because I wanted her to be in them at least sometimes and I knew we’d have a washer/dryer available.

3.  Speaking of washer and dryer, how do you clean these suckers?

With a wet cloth diaper, it’s really no big deal at all.  She wets, I toss it in the diaper pail, and I wash it later.  No biggie.

With a dirty diaper, it’s a little more intense.  I bought a diaper sprayer that hooked up easily to the side of our toilet.  I also bought some disposable GroVia liners that are supposed to catch the poop.  In theory, these liners catch the poop and then all you have to do is hold the dirty diaper over the toilet and allow the dirty insert to fall in and then flush it away.  I say “in theory” because I have a very low success rate with these liners.  I find that no matter how I position them in the diaper, these liners seem to only catch about half of the mess.  So then I have to flush a liner and I am still stuck cleaning the diaper out.

I also thought that the diaper sprayer would be great.  I was wrong.  What happened was I would hold the dirty diaper in the toilet with one hand and spray the diaper with the diaper sprayer with the other hand.  Well that diaper sprayer is really powerful, and it hits the diaper with such force that it ends up deflecting poop fragments everywhere.  By everywhere I mean the inside of the toilet, the rim of the toilet, and the bathroom floor.  Um, SICK.  I practiced a few times and quickly decided the diaper sprayer was the biggest waste of 50 bucks I’ve ever spent.

Then one day, right after Poppyseed dirtied her diaper, I noticed Oatmeal outside power washing the house and had a brilliant idea.  I went outside, tossed the dirty diaper into the grass, sprayed it with the garden hose, and voila.  Done in 10 seconds.  That’s been my go-to dirty diaper technique ever since.

As you can see in the picture above, I have a cloth diaper pail right next to my toilet.  I also have a spray called Bac-Out that I spray each diaper with before tossing it in the pail.  It helps avoid staining, and it keeps the bathroom from smelling bad.

4.  Isn’t that still pretty gross?

Yes.  I won’t lie.  It involves coming into contact with poop, and poop is gross.  I don’t know, I guess I just got used to it.

5.  Um, sorry Lola, but that is just sickening.  Why do you do it?  Why not just use disposable?

I do it because it saves money.  I also do it because I’d rather have pure cotton on my baby’s skin than a diaper full of a bunch of other stuff/chemicals I don’t know much about.

And because when I use the cotton diapers, her skin stays all nice and white and smooth.  When I use disposable diapers, not only do I feel like I’m changing her all the time, but her little bum gets really red.

And because, I am not going to lie.  A baby in a cloth diaper is just really darn cute!

 

6.  Okay.  So maybe I see why you do it.  But doesn’t it add so much laundry?

Eh, I don’t feel like it does.  I wash the diapers every 2-3 days.   I once let it go about 5 days, and the diapers at the bottom of the pail mildewed and I had to bleach them.

I don’t have any fancy process for washing them.  I put them in the washer and let them soak a while…. an hour or more.  Then I run the washer on the longest cycle and give them an extra rinse.  I use the same free/clear detergent that I use on our regular clothes.  It works just fine.  I dry the inserts and let the diapers sit out to dry.  They dry really quick.

People told me that if the diapers were stained that I could leave them in the sun for a while and that the sun would bleach them out.  I didn’t believe that.  Well, guess what?   I tried it over the weekend on a diaper that I let sit too long.  It was pretty stained, and so I washed it and then stuck it in direct sunlight.  I swear within minutes it was white again.  Guess I shouldn’t have been such a skeptic.

7.  I can’t decide if I want to try cloth diapers.  Maybe I’ll try it on my next baby.

I hear that all the time, and honestly, if you already have a baby in diapers, the time is now.  You’re already used to having a baby and diapering your baby.  It isn’t going to really stress you out to make a small change.

I really do not recommend trying cloth diapers on a brand new baby. For one thing, they don’t fit them very well.  I tried my cloth diapers on Poppyseed right away, and even though they are adjustable they still swallowed her.  Plus, it’s hard enough to have a tiny newborn and cloth diapers ARE more time consuming. I needed to get accustomed to just having a baby first, and then I ventured into the cloth diaper arena gradually.  I just did a cloth diaper here and there until I got better at putting them on her.  Once she had grown out of the size newborn disposable diapers, I saw that the cloth diapers fit her much better.  Now she is a size 2 in disposables and the cloth diapers are fitting her so well.

Here is a picture of Poppyseed at 1 month old.  This was about the time that they started to fit her without being so bulky.

And this was today… at 3.5 months old they are fitting her SO well now.

8.  Is there anything else you would like to mention about cloth diapers?

Yes.  I wish I had bought all solid white diapers.  I mean, a few other solid colors would be good, but mainly I should have just stuck with white.  I bought all kinds of crazy colors and patterns before I had her, which in hindsight was just dumb.  It looks really silly when your baby girl is in a pink dress and a green plaid cloth diaper, whereas if I had bought all white ones it would just look like she had on little bloomers.

Another point that I’d like to throw in there is this.  Currently my biggest cloth diaper challenge is how to successfully use them at night.  I would like for her to use a cloth diaper at night, but I have found that by about 3am she has soaked through them and needs to be changed.  I switched to the cotton/hemp combination insert at night, but this only seems to help a little.  In talking to other cloth diapering moms, it seems that this gets better as the kids get older because they don’t need to be nursed/fed as often and you can get away without the late night feedings, thus they don’t pee as much at 3am.  But we’ll see.  I keep trying.  If you have any advice, please leave it in the comments below!

Also.  Cloth diaper ARE more bulky than disposable diapers.  So if you are expecting a baby girl and are planning to use cloth, you should expect that it will be easier to dress her in dresses than in onesies or pants.  Dresses and the little jumpers fit great over cloth diapers, whereas the more fitted pants or onesies look kind of funky.  If you are having a boy, then you’ll probably just end up putting him in a slightly bigger size bottom so that his diaper fits into his pants.

As shown below, solid color cloth diapers are great underneath a dress!

9.  So to recap, if I am going to use cloth diapers, what should I buy?

Need to have:

  • 18-24 diapers (with inserts if you are using pocket diapers)
  • Bac-Out for spraying the diapers before they go into your diaper pail
  • A diaper pail that you throw all your dirty diapers in
  • A diaper pail liner, or you can be cheap like me and just use a pillowcase
  • A wet bag if you plan to run errands and such with your baby.  I don’t have one of these, I just use grocery bags, but I wish I had a wet bag
  • A little bit of patience – this does take getting used to!

Don’t need to have:

  • Special detergent
  • A diaper sprayer
  • Liners (unless you can teach me how to use them properly… maybe I’m just dumb)

Alright folks, I hope this helps!

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Comments

  1. For overnight diapering, I’ve had a lot of luck with a fitted bamboo diaper (Blueberry or sbish) or a Thirsties fitted with a hemp insert with a wool cover (http://www.cutiepoopsandbottoms.com/i_707/SustainablebabyishSloomb-Knit-Wool-Covers.htm). The wool is more expensive, but reaaallyyy great overnight! If my wool cover is being lanolized or drying (we only have one), I just use a Thirsties cover over the fitted diaper.
    My little guy (also my first) was born at the beginning of June, so we’re just behind you – I love seeing how you’re doing and what we have to look forward to!
    PS Any tips on not being a wreck when I go back to work?

  2. Tip on the sprayer: turn down the water behind the toilet. It turns down the water pressure and poop stops going everywhere. Seems like you have a good system, though. 🙂

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