Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cloth Diapering: The Process

If you know me, you know that I am mildly obsessed with cloth diapering. I love how great they are for my children, and how we have saved so much money by using them in addition to cloth wipes.  They are definitely not the cloth diapers that grandma was using; they have changed quite drastically since then. They are now easier than ever to use and come in many different types, colors/prints and fabrics. They are so fabulous that my initially hesitant husband now prefers them over paper diapers any day and has on more than one occasion advocated about how awesome they are!

First is deciding which diapers work best for you and fit well on your baby. Since all babies are not shaped the same, some cloth diapers work better than others.
Here is a site that lays out the different types pretty well.

I have tried and own quite a few of the types and my personal favorites are one-size pockets with snap closures. I like them for the fact that I can add to it for extra absorbency if need be. I also like the idea of using one diaper up until toilet learning. Some moms prefer to use sized diapers and sell (yes people actually buy used cloth diapers, and no it is not gross) and buy new sizes as baby grows. Too much work in my opinion.

The cost of a single diaper varies; my least expensive diapers (not counting pre-folds and covers which were super cheap!) are about 5 dollars each with my pricier ones around $25. You might be shocked to learn that some parents (usually moms) will pay even more then that! If I had that sort of money I would too!  Some parents purchase their entire stash of diapers up front; however we did not have that sort of cash saved up so we bought a little at a time. I am rather happy we did it this way because then I figured out what I did and did not like. Although I am guilty of window shopping my favorite online cloth diaper stores, I am pretty much “stashified”. MUST. NOT. BUY. MORE. RESIST THE CUTENESS.
This is what I started with. I could make it work with just this.
My stash today. My love for pockets took over. There is a few different types in there too.

 OKAY. Now here we go.
What you will need:

Diapers (duh)- the amount varies, but the average is about 25-30 if you wash every other day. I have purchased from many online store but this one and this one are my favorite.

Cloth diaper safe detergent-  This site good list but the kind that you prefer will depend on the type of water you are working with. Keep in mind that the amount you use is usually no more than a few tablespoons, so detergent will last quite a while. If you are really tight on money, you can make a homemade detergent for just a few pennies per load. Wet Bag- ok these are not really essential but make it so much easier, these hold the dirty diapers until laundry day, a good quality bag will hold in any offensive odors. They are available in a different types and sizes.

Cloth wipes- some get away with using disposable wipes here so they are not really necessary but really make the process so much easier. Some mamas (and daddies) are a little freaked out buy cloth wipes but it really is not that bad, and you will use way less since the clean better! I use baby wash cloths mostly, but many different wipes can be found online. Along the lines of wipes, some make a solution (available online or homemade) to use to wet the wipes before using. I tried a few, but I just use water…keep it simple.

Diaper sprayer: this attaches to plumbing by your toilet so that you can spray those super icky poopy diapers clean. For us, this doesn’t need to be done every time, but some days I sing a song about how useful it has been. I did survive a few months without it though, and not every one really needs them, but it does beat scraping and the old fashion dunk and swoosh.

Cloth diaper safe cream- You can find this online as well as in some stores. If your cloth diapering you probably will not run into rashes as frequently, but if you do the majority of drugstore creams will ruin your precious diapers. Alternatively you could purchase bio degradable liners to protect the cloth while using a cloth unfriendly ointment. 

Now that you know what you may or may not need, here is how it works:

Put the diaper on the cutie. Now you wait….tick tock tick tock

Oh! It is diaper changing time!

Get a clean diaper and the wipes of your choice ready. Get baby. Remove diaper. Try not to gag if it is poop…I still do on occasion…luckily daddy lovingly rescues me at these times. Wipe the mess up and put soiled diaper aside, preferably not in babies reach (seriously). Put the clean diaper on the baby and set him down.
If the diaper is just pee then it can be placed the wet bag or pail until laundry day. If its poop then some way or another get it off the diaper and into the toilet, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Don’t forget, if the baby is exclusively breastfed, then their poop is water soluble which eliminates the need to scrape or spray. Flush toilet. Place diaper in bag and wash those hands!

On laundry day: Open your washing machine (hopefully you have one, kudos if your hand washing). Toss in the diapers (hold your breath) and pre wash them on COLD. This gets rid of the yuckies. When that is finished washed them on HOT with detergent and rinse on COLD. Sometimes I do an extra rinse to be sure all the detergent is out. Place diapers in the dryer. I dry on HIGH and I hang dry all of my covers inside, but others do it differently. In the warmer months I will use a clothesline. I have successfully hung all the diaper parts to dry inside when I was without a dryer. So basically a dryer isn’t really necessary at all, but definitely a time saver.

Keep in mind that this is my routine that works for us. Other families may do their routine differently but along the same lines.

Once every few months I strip them (this get rid of detergent build up) and dry the covers to help reseal the PUL. If you take great care of your diapers then they will last at LEAST 2 years. The first diapers I purchased for Bubs are still going strong on my littlest man. 

See ya later!

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