Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cloth Diapering

Lately I've had a few people ask me about the whole cloth diapering thing, so I figured this would be a good place to answer questions and tell what I think about it.

We looked into cloth diapers when our daughter was just a few months old.  After a lot of reading and figuring out what kinds of cloth diapers were even out there, we decided to try a few different types/brands out.  I knew I wanted a "pocket" diaper, I just didn't know anything from there.  A pocket diaper is one that has the "shell" (the part you see) and comes with an insert (like a little towel) that you put in to soak up everything.  You can stuff it with another insert at night, or something like hemp that will soak up more so you can avoid those nighttime changes.  There are also all-in-ones (AIO) which are basically like a disposable (no stuffing required) where everything is sewn together.  I just liked the idea of being able to control the absorbency level.

We bought a few of the Happy Heiny's in 2 different sizes.  I hated them.  They leaked all the time.  The way the legs were sewn, everything just seeped out the sides.  Since then, I hear that they have come out with a new and improved diaper and I actually kind of want to try it... but we'll see.

Fuzzi Bunz was another brand we tried.  We also bought this in 2 different sizes.  It worked ok.  I liked the snaps, but I didn't always get a great fit, so sometimes it was too big and other times a little too tight.

bumGenius - Grasshopper We also tried out some bumGenius diapers, fell in love, and never looked back.  I preferred this for several reasons.

1) It is a one size diaper.  This means that the same diaper will fit a small baby (they say 8 lbs, but I didn't try it) all the way through potty training.  Which, so far, is true because Ali still wears them at night.  There are snaps that adjust the height of the diaper as well as the insert.

2) No leaks.  I never had a problem with her leaking in these diapers.  Even really messy diapers were well contained in these suckers.  No more of that poop-shooting-up-the-back stuff.  The elastic isn't too tight around them, but tight enough for a good, solid hold.

3) Double inserts.  Every bumGenius diaper comes with 2 inserts.  One is a "regular" insert and the other is a "newborn" insert which is a little smaller, but perfect for doubling up at night.  I ended up buying a bunch of hemp inserts for our other diapers to use at night that now I don't need because 2 of the bumGenius inserts work great.

4) Velcro.  It was a perfect fit every time, much faster to put on, and much more like a disposable so it makes it easier for others to use.  (I usually try and have disposables on hand for babysitters, but sometimes we were just out and only had the cloth, so it was nice that it was very "user friendly")  You'll read that the snaps will last longer, and they do.  Our Velcro tabs have been wearing out, but you can get replacements for them.  More and more online diaper shops are selling the "refresher kits" for $1, or you can just email Cotton Babies
(through the "Contact Us" section on their site) and ask for free ones.  I didn't have to pay a cent and had it at my house in under a week (from the time of asking).

So how many do you need?  We bought an 18 pack, plus 3 that we bought to "test out."  I ended up giving a couple to my sister to try out, so we were left with maybe 19 or 20.  That was enough that I didn't have to wash every single day.  I'd say an 18 pack would be perfect (unless you like washing every day).

We also found 2 other essentials to be a wet bag and a diaper sprayer.  And a diaper pail if you don't already have one.

We have 2 wet bags (one smaller, one larger) to keep in the diaper bag for when we're out.  You just put the used diapers in there and deal with it when you get home.

The diaper sprayer is like a mini-shower head that attaches to your toilet and you can use to spray off the excess mess.  Not only is it really helpful for diapers, but for cleaning up messes while potty-training as well.

For wipes we just used disposables... which was actually kind of a pain.  I didn't want to spend the money on cloth ones, but this time around I'm making my own from old receiving blankets.  It just seems easier to throw it all in the diaper pail and wash it all together rather than have to separate out the wipes, throw them away, then take out the trash for really smelly grossness.   Check out how to make your own here.

I think that about covers it... There are so many options out there, but I love using cloth diapers.  Not only does it save us money, we can be better prepared should anything ever happen.  I think about how the Church tells us to have our food storage and money saved to be prepared for anything, and then I think, "What would happen if I couldn't get to the store for diapers?"  Seriously, what could you do?  I like always having diapers on hand and not having to run out late at night because I'm on the last one in the pack.

Everyone has to make their own choice on what is best for their family, but for us, we love our cloth.

Update:  Thanks for the questions Katie, I forgot to cover those things!
1. Do you remember about how much they cost for the 18 pack? How much was the sprayer, pail, and pail liner?
We ended up spending about $500 when all was said and done.  It would have been cheaper had we known some things like the fact that you can buy a diaper, try it, and if you don't like it, return it for a full refund (check with your seller first, of course).  Also, the hemp inserts I bought and only used a few times were pretty pricey and I wished I hadn't bought them (or maybe so many).  Usually you can find an 18 pack for about $305.  The wet bags range anywhere from $7-30 depending on what you get.  We already had the pail, and I didn't buy a liner.  I just give it a good scrubbing every other wash day or so.  But most sites offer free shipping on orders over $75, so it's smart to get everything at one place in my opinion. 

2. Do you use special cloth diaper detergent, or just add like baking soda and bleach to your wash?

I just use the same detergent I use for my clothes (Tide).  I usually do a cold wash w/detergent, hot wash w/detergent, then a hot wash with a little bleach on the inserts only.  Or a cold wash w/detergent, vinegar and baking soda, hot wash the same way, then one more cold rinse.  I've never had a problem with my diapers being stained.  The inserts do occasionally stain (weird, I know), but bleach gets it out.

3. How often do you have to wash diapers with your 18 pack?

It depends on the age.  In the beginning (when she was about 4 months old) I was washing every other day... maybe stretching it to every 2 days.  As she got older, she didn't need to be changed as often and it was every 2-3 days.

4. Do you order it all online, or did you find a retailer? 

I ordered everything online.  I've never seen any store carry any of the brands I've mentioned.  There might be one somewhere, but I've never seen any.  You can just do a search for cloth diapers and TONS of retailers will pop up. Like I said before, most places will offer free shipping on orders above $75, so check for that.  Also, pricing is pretty much the same wherever you look for cloth diapers, so just pick a place that has everything you want.  Selections (including brands, colors, quantities) can vary a lot from place to place and from time to time.  

*Also****  I forgot to mention that cloth diapering does cause your baby to have a big bum.  So, as cute as it is to have them just in a diaper, some of those cute clothes you want to put your baby in just don't look the same with a huge bulky bum.  Just keep that in mind.  


David on February 11, 2010 at 9:30 PM said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I'm not sure how many people know this but that is what they were originally created for. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain.

Katie on February 11, 2010 at 10:54 PM said...

Thank you for this great post!! I am seriously considering switching to cloth. I have a ton of questions for you, so I should probably wait till I see you to ask. On second thought, maybe someone out there has the same questions so...
1. Do you remember about how much they cost for the 18 pack? How much was the sprayer, pail, and pail liner?
2. Do you use special cloth diaper detergent, or just add like baking soda and bleach to your wash?
3. How often do you have to wash diapers with your 18 pack?
4. Do you order it all online, or did you find a retailer?

The Mitchells on February 11, 2010 at 10:58 PM said...

um... that was random... how do I delete comments?

The Mitchells on February 11, 2010 at 11:23 PM said...

Thanks for the questions Katie, I put the answers as part of the post at the bottom! Let me know if there are more questions!

Sarah on February 13, 2010 at 8:41 PM said...

Thank you! I already had you tell me most of this, but it's nice to have it with pictures ;)
And now I can refer my curious friends here too. Can't wait to start using mine! I got my 'samples' in the mail this weekend :)

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