Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cloth Diapering My Way

I started cloth diapering my son when he was five months old (hes 11 months now) because that’s when I got interested in it. I was tired of buying diapers and I was tired of him getting diaper rash. Turing to my good friend who cloth diapered and asked her to help me get started. It's not a cheap to get started on cloth diapers but if you are an expectant mother who hasn’t had your shower yet I recommend having a diaper raffle and having everyone bring one cloth diaper (instead of a traditional box of diapers) and that will help you build a good "stash". In my opinion, you will want at last a stash of 18-20 diapers if not more so that you can avoid washing daily. I personally only knew one person who was cloth diapering when I started so I followed her lead and bought the same diapers she did. I started with only one and used it once a day- every day (yes, I washed it every day, such a pain!) for about a week before I decided if cloth diapering was for me. By the end of the week I was so excited about cloth diapering my son that I went full force. I purchased four diapers, and both mine and Mr. Hunky’s parents graciously bought us 6 diapers each. Within another week we had a total of 16 diapers and switched into the realm of exclusively cloth diapering. We went with BumGenius 4.0s which is a pocket diaper, which for those of you that have no clue what I’m talking about, basically means that there are two inserts that come with the diaper that you can use (regular and newborn, I always use both to double it up).

Here's our cloth diaper stash, some were in the diaper pail!

When choosing your cloth diapers it is also important to think about what type of closure that you will want for them. Cloth diapers come in snaps as well as Velcro (commonly know as aplix or “hook and loop”). In this household, we are a fan of the snaps because they insure that the baby will not be able to open the diaper on their own and because I feel as though they are more secure on the baby. Along with my stash of BumGenius 4.0’s, I've also bought a small stash of Flip diapers which are made by BumGenius. Flip Diapers are hybrid diapers so you can either use a liner or a disposable liner in them. The flip liners can be folded so that they fit the diaper whether the baby is wearing size small, medium, or large.I use them as filler diapers- for example if my son just got out of the bath and still has an hour until bed time- then I'll use a flip instead of wasting a regular 4.0 diaper.

BumGenius 4.0 Cloth Diaper

This is Baby A modeling a BumGenius 4.0 cloth diaper.

Flip Diaper Shell

Flip Diaper and Flip Liner

Flip Diaper "stuffed"

As you can see, you fold the flip liner to fit Small, Medium or Large

Flip Diaper Shell and Disposable Liner

Flip Diaper "Stuffed" with Disposable Liner

This is Baby A modeling a Flip Hybrid diaper with the flip liner inside of it.

We also have some cloth diapers called Pre-folds. Pre-folds are the old fashioned cloth diapers- essentially a burp cloth- and are used with a diaper cover (the flip covers are what I use when I do pre-folds) but it is important to keep in mind that you always want to use an additional fleece liner on top of the pre-fold because the fleece wicks away the moisture from your little one’s booty allowing them to stay dryer and not have the acidity of their pee irritate their skin. You'll notice that all cloth diapers such as the 4.0’s and the flip inserts already have a type of fleece on the inside so you will not have to purchase additional fleece liners for those. Whether you use pocket diapers, flip hybrid diapers or pre-folds, they will all feel different on your baby. For us, the pre-folds are very bulky as oppose to the 4.0s. See photos below for the variation in bulkiness.

This is a Pre-Fold Cloth Diaper Insert

Flip Diaper Shell, Pre-fold, and Fleece Insert

Flip Shell "stuffed" with the pre-fold and the fleece liner

This is Baby A modeling a Flip diaper with a prefold and fleece liner.

I have a small covered trash can that I keep in the laundry room, lined with a garbage bag (they make actual "diaper pails and diaper pail liners" but the point- at least for me- is to save money not spend it! And those things are pricy!). So when a diaper is soiled I simply toss it in my covered trash can and wash diapers when it gets full or I am close to being out in my stash.

Diaper Pail

When I am washing the diapers I spray the inside of the covered trash can with Lysol Disinfectant Spray to kill the germs and also get rid of the ammonia smell. Once the diapers are washed, I try to avoid drying them in the dryer, I prefer to dry them on a drying rack outside, but sometimes with the monsoon seasons or if I’m doing diapers late in the day, it just isn’t possible. Drying them in the sun- or "sunning" the diapers also helps get any soil stains out of the diaper and the liners.

To wash them it is extremely recommended that you use a cloth diaper detergent- there are several on the market, but they can be pricey so I choose to use a detergent that is free of all dye’s and fragrances. After some label reading at the grocery store, I chose to use All Free & Clear. They say to use cloth diaper detergent because what happens is the ammonia and soap residue builds up inside of the liners causing it to smell really bad- which is true. But I've found that its easier and cheaper for me to use All Free and Clear and just "strip" the diaper every other week or so, to avoid them getting the build up. Stripping a cloth diaper can eventually wear it down, but I feel as though I would rather strip my diaper to be sure that it is really getting clean.

Diapers in the wash and the detergent I use

When the baby poops there are two common ways to take care of it- you can either buy an attachment that hooks to the back of your toilet and spray the poop into the toilet (attachment retails for approximately $50) or you can do what I do and use a diaper liner (they're about $6 for a roll of 100). A diaper liner literally looks like a dryer sheet and sits inside of the cloth diaper so when they do poop, you just use a wet wipe to grab it and take it out. They're biodegradable and perfectly save to flush in the toilet however I just stick the whole thing in the diaper genie. I’ve been asked before why it is that I don’t use cloth wipes since I cloth diaper. For us, it is much easier at home and on the go to just pick up the diaper liner with a wet wipe and throw it away in the diaper genie than it would be to use a cloth wipe and clean the mess that way. A lot of moms do use cloth wipes and absolutely love it, but for us, it’s a lot easier to use disposable wipes.

Here'sa roll of diaper liners that we use

Here's our Diaper Genie that the poopy and dirty wipes go into

Now you may be wondering if there is anything that I don’t like about using cloth diapers. The only two things I can think of that I don't like about cloth diapering is

A) the smell of the soiled diapers in the pail- holy ammonia...but you deal with it!
B) My son has very sensitive skin and sometimes his pee and poop can be so acidic on his little booty that it can burn a little and leave his butt red. It does go away once I let him crawl around diaper less for a while.

My whole reasoning for wanting to cloth diaper my son was because I wanted to be able to do something for him that would benefit him in the long run. I had a horrible difficult time breastfeeding and had to stop when he was 2 ½ months old. To say it crushed me would be an understatement but at that point I had little to no resources as far as breastfeeding went and I stopped. Cloth diapering, I felt as though, gave me a second and I felt like it was bettering my son. I love that we’ll never have to buy another diaper for him and that these diapers will fit him until he's potty trained. I plan on using them for our second child so to me spending $400-500 on a set of diapers was well worth it. In average you'd spend that much on disposables in a year and that's just for one child. I do wash about every 2-3 days for diapers alone and last month our water bill was only $25. I only buy detergent maybe one ever month and a half if that and it's about $8 at Walmart. The liners, depending on how frequently I use them, can last me up to two months so when you add it together detergent ($8), liners ($6) and a portion of the water bill (maybe $10 or so) is still cheaper than a box of diapers and that's what I'd spend for about a month and a half to two months. I love cloth diapering so much that I plan on cloth diapering our next baby from birth in the hospital. If you were on the fence about whether or not cloth diapering would be a good switch for your family, I hope that this post helped convince you that it really is simple. Please feel free to ask any questions below, I would be happy to answer them.

Edit: We no longer use Vinegar and Dawn to strip our diapers. For quite some time we have been battling yeast diaper rashes and after hours of research I learned that Vinegar can actually help grow the yeast. Sort of like making bread if you will. Currently to strip our diapers and kill any excess bacteria we are doing the following:

1. Rinse your diapers to get the stinkies washed out a little
2. Do a regular wash with no soap
3. Rinse the diapers three times 
4. Add five drops of Tea Tree Oil and wash your diapers on regular
5. Rinse diapers 
Optional Step (if you have yeast in the diaper, this is a must): Add five drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract
Optional Step: Rinse diapers
6.Wash diapers with Cloth Diaper detergent
7. Rinse Diapers
8. Switch to dryer on HIGH or sun dry

If you still have yeast in the diapers you may need to repeat this procedure two-three times before putting your child back in them. Make sure that you do this to all of your diapers otherwise it will defeat the purpose. I only had to do this one time to kill all of the yeast in our diapers. Every three washes I treat the diapers by rinsing them, adding tea tree oil, rinse, wash with CD soap, rinse, dryer. Every five washes I substitution the tea tree oil for the grapefruit seed extract.

Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal and antibacterial treatment that is cloth diaper safe. This will kill any yeast that is on your diaper. Grapefruit Seed Extract is the only natural way to kill yeast SPORES. If you do not kill the spores your yeast will keep coming back.

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