Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cloth Diapering

Photobucket**These product opinions are my own - I have not been paid or incentivized in any way to share them**

One of my first few posts...way back when...I wrote about the small steps we take in our house to try and reduce our trash output with cloth diapering being one of those things.  I'm hoping to lay out what we do and how we do it in this post but you may want to read this in sections as this is a really long post!!  Also, I've tried to link up to several other blogs that also have great cloth diapering info too!!

Making the choice:  Considering diapers are a huge source of waste that is going into our shrinking landfill capacity, cloth diapering was one way we felt we could reduce the amount of trash our home generates.  The hubs and I also have SUPER sensitive skin and were both cloth diapered as babies due to pretty severe reactions to disposables.  I know times have changed and disposables have come a long way but I still had a hard time imagining the chemicals that are used in some disposables resting against my girl's tush on a daily basis.  However, cloth diapers are not all rainbows and butterflies, and they certainly aren't free although some consumer experts estimate that you could save anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000 using cloth diapers vs. disposables.

PhotobucketAll in Ones, Pockets, or Pre Folds??:  I read a lot of websites about the pros and cons of cloth diapering and did some research on which type of cloth diaper (all in one, pockets, prefolds) would work best for us.  Based on what I found, the hubs and I selected the all in ones mainly because of their ease of use.  I wanted a brand with organic cotton and also preferred the snap closure versus velcro because I felt the snaps would hold up over the years (I am hoping to get at least 2 kids through these diapers and from what I've read that's entirely possible).  I found everything I was looking for in the Bum Genius Elementals, which are also great because they are a "grow with me" style diaper that are designed to fit children from 7 lbs to 35 lbs by simply adjusting the snaps.  We've been successfully using these for 8 months and other than the incredibly long drying time (about an hour and a half) I have 0 complaints.  I love that the cotton used in these diapers is organic and we've had no issues with diaper rash or leaking (other than when operator error is involved).  They come in all sorts of fun colors and often times eliminate my need for a diaper cover under Addie's sun dresses.  They are a tad bit bulkier than disposables but we haven't found it to create any issues when it comes to clothes fitting or hampering her ability to get around.  A few of my blog friends are a bit more adventurous than myself and have used various types and brand of cloth diapers so check out Natalie, over at From Corporate to Domestic here and Mrs Eye Can See, over at the The Juice is Worth the Squeeze here for more info on different types and brands of cloth diapers.  I also follow Rachel, over at Tales of a Monkey, a Bit, and a Bean, who's had great success with the G Diapers and has a wonderful post all about them here.

What do I need to do this?  We started with 12 cloth diapers, 48 cloth wipes, a box of Country Save detergent, a diaper pail, two Kissaluv diaper pail liners, and a diaper sprayer that attaches to the side of the toilet.  While I was home with Addie, the 12 cloth diapers worked well but after returning to work, I purchased 12 more and 24 seems to really work well for us.  We split our purchases between Cotton Babies and Diaper Junction, both online cloth diaper stores and had wonderful experiences with both!  I estimate that our total up front costs were about $650.

What worked and what didn't:

Bum Genius Elementals - LOVE these - they have worked wonderfully and I hope these will last until we are no longer diapering little bambinos.

just the diaper
Kissaluvs Cloth Wipes - These wipes are the perfect size and have a soft side as well as a more abrasive side for dirty butts.  These wash great and get thrown into the pail with the diapers.  We keep a small water bottle sprayer next to the diaper changing station the I use to wet the cloth wipe.  I also use the California Baby diaper spray on those "tough diapers" to help prevent any irritation.

Country Save Detergent - This is the detergent I started with and really had no complaints.  It seemed to work fairly well however, after coming across Vaska detergent one day while shopping at Target, I switched to Vaska for all of my laundering needs.  I've been happier with the Vaska and I personally prefer a liquid detergent to a powder detergent so this is what we're currently using!

Diaper Pail - not much to say here, the flip top is nice and does seem to hold the oders in well.

Kissaluvs Antibacterial Diaper Pail Liners - These are very sturdy and have held up very well despite cycling through the wash with the diapers.  I do recommend owning at least two of these so you always have a liner in the pail - even when you're washing a load.

Diaper Sprayer - This was not such a big hit in our house.  After receiving the kit, we found one of the pieces was defective, which the manufacturer quickly replaced however, this is not sturdy and could easily lead to flooding your whole bathroom if you're not careful with the water cutoff.  We actually don't ever use this either - see below in the "laundering" section for how we get all of the dirtiness out.

PhotobucketLaundering:  Whenever I tell people that we are cloth diapering this is always the topic of conversation that arises.  And personally, I expected much worse...but it really hasn't been bad.  Obviously the wet diapers are a non issue and I just throw those in the diaper pail and go on with it.  For those that are dirtied, the treatment is slightly different.  Depending on what Addie's been eating, some diapers we can simply shake off and put in the pail but others require slightly more work.  For those, I usually turn the diaper upside down so the cloth liner is facing the water in the toilet and let it soak out for about 30 minutes.  Generally speaking, after about 30 minutes I can pull the diaper out of the toilet (by grabbing the exterior liner which has not been in the toilet water) and shake gently to remove any remnants.  I then place the diaper in the pail until it comes time to do the wash.  I wash the dirty diapers every other day and have not had any problems with that schedule thus far.  To wash, I simply empty out the diaper pail liner into the washing machine, set it on "normal" and also add a "prewash" and "extra rinse" cycle.  This cycle lasts about an hour and 20 minutes and I then remove the diapers and either hang on the line for the sun to work its magic or if the weather is not cooperating I throw them in the dryer for about an hour and a half.  And when I say the sun works magic...I mean it does...it removes all of those stains on the diaper - its crazy!  After pulling the diaps off the line, they can be a bit stiff but a couple of minutes in the dryer will soften them right up!

Please, please feel free to comment on your experiences or share any favorites you have when it comes to cloth diapering - I'd love to hear about it!!  I'm hoping to be a little more adventurous when it comes to baby #2 and maybe try some of the pockets and prefolds.


Natalie said...

Thanks for linking to my page! Great advice...I still need to get a second liner b/c like you said you need one while the other is in the wash. I do think you should try the BumGenius pocket diaper one day :) It doesn't take anytime to dry b/c the inserts are removable. I've been using regular wipes, and I was about to purchase some Kissaluvs wipes...I'm glad to hear they work well for you!

Cajun Cowgirl said...

Hey great post! Thanks for the info, and I'm totally starring as I'm thinking about going cloth for next baby! I'll surely be emailing you for support! :)

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

What a great post! And thanks for the nod....i really need to do a more comprehensive post like this! I only have one elemental but I love how trim it is. My stash is crazy....i just love trying all the different kinds and brands!

Jessica said...

Great post. I'm really interested in cloth diapering. Def. having more than one kid. If up to the hubs....many more. (unlikely)
But MY biggest hesistation is working fulltime. I just don't know if I can add another TO DO item to my list at the moment.
I'm feeling like my plate is pretty full at the moment.

I know you work...How do you manage it all? I'm wondering whats your give and take in the baby department?

Laura said...

I'm a fuzzibunz girl all the way. More info on that over at my blog under the parenthood 101 tab. Thanks so much for sharing this. I always like to see what works for everyone else.

Samantha said...

I didn't use them this time around, but I am soooo leaning toweards their use next baby, and this post just made me want to do it more. Thanks for the helpful info!!

Rachel said...

So glad you've shared all of this! I have a good friend having a baby boy in August and she wants to cloth diaper. I'm sending her your post!

Paige said...

Thank you SO much for sharing. Great info! I opted to not use cloth diapers with this baby, though I will consider with my next baby.

the workaholic momma said...

AW Jessica- you are too sweet:) Honestly, I put the diapers in right when I get home from work and then throw them in the dryer before bed. It really doesnt take much time because there isn't any sorting or folding to speak of so its much easier than regular laundry!! I figure too that the time I spend laundering about equals out to the time I would be spending going to the store and buying diapers.

Kar said...

This is such a great post!!
We cloth diaper as well :) I was surprised when I read that you don't care for the sprayer!!
I HAD to buy one and so far I love using it. Our toilet has a really low water level so soaking the diaper or even swishing it just wasn't working :( My sprayer is different from the one you posted a link to but so far so good.
My older daughter LOVES using BumGenius too!

Michelle said...

I use cloth diapers and I love them! We use Flips and they are great. I love our diaper sprayer, it has been so great! I use Shaklee laundry soap and it is amazing and all natural. Shaklee has a TON of natural/organic products! Once I got the hang of the cloth diapers it was so easy, now I get thrown off if we have to use a disposable haha! It's great to know other people are using CDs and hear about their experiences!

Awhit said...

I commend you. I live in a huge apartment in Queens where we pay $1.50 per wash load downstairs in the basement and $1.50 per 30 minutes of drying time. I doubt this would save us any money at all, but if I lived back home in Kentucky again, I could definitely see your system working. It sounds like a lot of conscientious hard work to reduce waste and I give you major props.

Beach Bum & Baby said...

Great post!!! And as a side note - so glad you turned me on to the Vaska - I love it. We use it for everything now and I especially love using the purple one for my sheets!! :) So nice and cozy!!

Andrea Brand . Charcoal and Crayons said...

We love our cloth diapers and have been using them since our son was 2 weeks old. I haven't found it difficult at all and would be so lost if I had to use disposables. My entire stash is Applecheeks... which I LOVE. I'm planning on posting about them in a couple weeks.

Anonymous said...

what a helpful, helpful post! i'm a new follower and in our plans to have another little, i have been highly considering cloth diapers! i have heard of bumgenius through a friend so i knew i would lean towards that! i was also cloth diapered along with 2 siblings but never did it with my son. but now for sure want to with the next little(s). thank you for this post!!!! :)