Monday, October 03, 2011

The Realities of Cloth Diapering

in a prefold with a size one thirsties cover
     After about a week in disposables, Olive was big enough, and we were sane enough, to start using cloth diapers.  For the first two to three weeks, we used prefolds and covers.  This is the cheapest cloth diaper route and also the easiest to fit on newborns.  I bought snappis to fasten the prefolds, but ended up not needing them.  Instead, we just folded them to fit the covers, and used those to keep them on.  Prefolds come in several different sizes, and I collected a huge stack of infant (7-15 lbs) sized diapers.  In addition, I had several new and used waterproof covers in newborn or small sizes.  My favorite covers turned out to be the thirsties snap closure covers because they have a double gusset which is better at preventing leaks and gives a better fit.  They are also adjustable in size.  I got several size one thirsties in cute prints that fit from 6-18 lbs.  The aplix (or velcro) fastened diapers provided more flexibility in fit, but the ones I had bought used did not fasten as securely.  You also have to remember to fasten the velcro to the laundry tabs before you wash them.
thirsties with an aplix closure
      We probably went through around a dozen prefolds and 2-4 covers a day.  (The covers only needed to be changed when poop got past the prefold and onto the cover.)  I had read that I'd be doing a load every other day, but I ended up filling the diaper pail within a day.  I'm not sure, but maybe it's because my diaper pail and/or bag are on the small side.  They say that you don't need to worry about rinsing diapers with breastfed baby poop because it's water soluble, but when it's a large amount, I do it anyways.  It's easy to do with prefolds and a diaper sprayer.
      In addition to cloth diapers, we are also using washcloths instead of disposable wipes.  If she's really messy, we just stick her under the sink to rinse her off.  Otherwise, I use a dry washcloth or, if needed, one that's been moistened with a spray bottle of water.  The dirty cloth wipes just get washed along with the diapers each night. 
      After a couple of weeks of successfully using prefolds, I started getting a few that smelled strongly of ammonia after they were used.  That's when I realized that I was using enough laundry detergent for a full load even though I was really washing half a load's worth of laundry (or less) at a time.  I'd been using one tablespoon of Charlie's soap, and cut it down to half of that.  Once in a while the ammonia smell will come back on 1-2 diapers and I'll do an extra rinse cycle at the end of the next wash.  This seems to be working (fingers crossed).
     When the newborn and extra-small diaper covers stopped fitting the baby, I eased my way into using pocket diapers.  These are generally more expensive than prefolds, but an advantage to them is they usually have microfiber or some other fiber that wicks the moisture away so they don't feel as wet.  Since Olivia gets distressed when wet, I thought this might help.  They also take a little less work to put on.  You do have to prep them by stuffing them with an insert, but then you just snap or velcro them on as you would with disposable diapers.  The smallest one I had was a pair of rumparooz that I had bought because it has a smaller setting than the others and because it has an inner leg gusset, which I thought might also help with a snug fit and to prevent leaking.  Sunbaby and fuzzibunz diapers also run a bit smaller.
blueberry pocket diaper
       Eventually, Olivia also fit into the bumgenius pairs.  In addition to all of the more common fleece/microfiber pocket diapers, I tried some with alternative fabrics.  This included  kawaii diapers with a bamboo lining and blueberry diapers with bamboo inserts.  I decided to try these because bamboo is supposed to be more absorbent and possibly less irritating.  The big downside I found to bamboo are that they take a lot longer to dry.  Even after being in the dryer, I had to hang dry them for several more hours.  I also bought extra hemp inserts, which are extra absorbent like bamboo, but are much thinner and dry faster.  The one type of diaper I wasn't that impressed with were grovia's hybrid diapers.  The cotton cloth inserts have a nice gusset, but take almost 2 days to dry even after being put in the dryer.  I have yet to dry the disposable inserts with them.  I liked the pocket diapers so much, that I ordered more of them for when she grows out of the newborn/small prefolds.  I ordered more sunbaby diapers because they are the most affordable, but they take over a month to arrive from China! 
grovia hybrid diaper
     One side effect of cloth diapers are that she has grown out of her clothes a bit sooner because of their bulkiness.  This hasn't been a big deal.  It will also be interesting to see how it effects our water and electric bills since we now do an extra load of laundry every day.  There has been some small poop stains on the diapers, but sunning them (when there is sun) gets rid of them.  The one downside to keeping the diapers on longer is Olivia started developing some diaper rash.  I found some cloth friendly diaper balm, which helped to clear it up, but I do have to keep putting it on to keep it at bay.  Maybe she has especially sensitive skin, because her cheeks have started breaking out from the breast milk too.  One of the primary reasons I decided on cloth was to save money.  I was just given free disposables and am wondering if I should use them.  It would save a bit of time and I'm wondering if it would clear up her diaper rash?

1 comment:

  1. Julia Park12:13 AM guess is that the diaper rash is just normal...Olivia sounds like she has sensitive skin. is it feasible to use the cream with every diaper change? i have a friend that does that with disposables and her kids just don't get rashes. what about using a vinegar rinse for the ammonia? a friend would crank up the hot water heater temp every so often to rinse them. the cheeks....hmm, is it like baby acne? or eczema? is it b/c you keep nibbling her yummy cheeks?