Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not Your Mama's Cloth Diapers

For those of you who might be interested in cloth diapering, or even for the morbidly curious, I thought I'd share our system. I began researching cloth diapers a few months into my pregnancy, and let me tell you: if you've ever done any kind of search on "cloth diapering" online, it's enough to make your head spin! I waffled back and forth for several months - daunted by my lack of knowledge and the seemingly huge increase in a workload that was already going to rapidly expand with a newborn on the way. There was also the husband-grandma-nursery worker factor. I didn't want to have complicated bulky diapers for helping hands to have to contend with. I was concerned about traveling with cloth diapers vs. disposables, as all of our family live out of state, so any visits require about a 3 1/2 hour roadtrip. Also, while cloth can save significant expenses in the long run, there's a pretty big investment intially.

My husband is very frugal (read: loves cheap!), so as soon as he heard the words "save money" he was completely on the cloth diapering bandwagon, and determined to make it work. I was certainly willing to give it a try - after all, I reasoned, even if it didn't work out, we wouldn't actually be out any money. Cloth diapers hold their resale value pretty well, believe it or not. Anyway, we'd still be spending money on disposables if we weren't using cloth, so I felt pretty safe.

There are several benefits to cloth vs. disposables, and while I love that I'm helping to clean up the environment, honestly my main intention was to cut costs. After researching several kinds of diapers (All-In-Ones, Pocket Diapers, Prefolds, Fitted Diapers, Hybrids . . . etc), we decided on the pocket style diaper. This one is a good combination of ease of use, and cost efficiency. After trying out several brands, we decided on using the Fuzzibunz (seriously, some of these diapers have hilarious names!) One Size diapers. You can check them out here. The obvious advantage to these was the ability to last from newborn through potty training - which means if we have more than one kid in diapers at the same time, we don't have to worry about different sized diapers. Also, these things are ridiculously adjustable! So with a hard to fit baby like mine - who is really long with chubby thighs, they work perfectly. They also work similarly to a disposable, with snaps instead of pins. The downside is having to use a different diaper with each change, but that didn't bother me.

We've been using them full time for about 3 1/2 months now, and it really isn't that much extra work! I am very pleasantly surprised. It's pretty safe to say we'll be sticking with them long term at this point, and I'm glad to do it. We ended up purchasing about 25 diapers, which can get us comfortably through about three days. I do a load of diapers three times a week, and our washer is enormous, so it's easy to fit them all in there.

I run them on a cold rinse cycle first, and then a hot/cold wash cycle followed by another cold rinse.  The company says to dry the inserts in the dryer on high heat, and the diaper "shells" in the dryer on low, but I prefer to hang them to air dry . . . I guess I'd rather be on the cautionary side.  We just have a clothes rack in the laundry room that I use, and on sunny days I'll put them outside.  They dry much faster!  Even indoors, they dry very quickly - it only takes 5 hours max.

After drying, I take all the inserts (made of layers of microfiber) and "stuff" the diapers.  Each diaper comes with a short and a long insert.  We use the shorter ones for daytime, and the longer ones for naps, or overnight.

My daughter is a heavy wetter, so sometimes if we're going to be out and about and I won't have as much opportunity to change her, I add a hemp insert.   The hemp inserts are super absorbent, and nice and thin, so they don't add much bulk.

 They really come in lots of cute colors and patterns too!  It was hard to decide which ones to get.  When they're all stuffed and folded, they look like this:

 The nice thing about these diapers, is that they still fit nicely in my diaper stacker that came with the nursery set.  Then they're nice and handy to grab during a change.

I also keep spare inserts on the changing table, at arms reach if I need to change the absorbancy level.  They have their own bin, so everything stays nice and neat (and out of sight!)

 As far as wipes go, instead of purchasing the expensive "cloth wipes" that are available, I just bought some cheap washcloths from Wal-Mart, cut them in half, and sewed a seam down the unfinished edge.  VoilĂ !  Cloth wipes!  I roll them up, and store them in a plastic container on the changing table next to the extra inserts.  I use a homemade solution of water, baby oil, and baby soap (we use Johnson & Johnson's Head To Toe wash) to keep them in.  They smell nice, feel nice on baby's skin, and get the job done well.

 We purchased a small garbage can instead of a fancy diaper pail, and we use a cloth liner that goes in the wash with the diapers.  It's never smelly, and it doesn't take up a bunch of space.  If the diaper is just wet, it goes straight into the pail, wipes and all - no fuss.

If there's a surprise inside, I rinse the diapers first, and then put them in the pail.  This was one of the biggest turn offs for me as far as cloth diapering goes . . . who wants to deal with that kind of mess?  After all, with disposables, you just wad the thing up, and never think about it again.  That's when I discovered, *drumroll please* the diaper sprayer!

It hooks right onto the side of the toilet, out of the way, and my handy husband even installed it without having a career in plumbing.  It's pretty high powered, so it gets the ick off fairly easily.  There's still the matter of wringing out the diaper, which I felt kind of squeamish about, but I just keep some of these on hand (pun intended):

I keep a box in the bathroom, and also in the laundry room for wash day.  It's a piece of cake!  I never have to touch anything, and so far, my baby has never had a diaper rash, or been smelly.  She'll tell you herself - she doesn't mind one bit!


  1. This is SO interesting. Thank you for sharing and eing so candid. Huge brownie points to you for the reusable wipes. That is really incredible.

  2. I just discovered your blog via Brooke! :) This was a great read. My mom did cloth diapers with my little brother & I've always thought they were a great choice. I second Brooke's comment about the cloth wipes too. You are a crafty gal.

  3. Thanks, Girls! I have gleaned lots of wisdom from the good 'ol internet. :)