Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why I Cloth Diaper

A lot of my friends have asked me how I do cloth diapers. So I thought I would share what products I use, how I care for them and what I do & don't like about it all.

The idea of using cloth diapers first hit me when my mother-in-law told me that she had used them (pre-folds with pins & rubber pants) on Ben. It was a great experience for her since she had a diaper service. I started researching cloth diapers from there. I came to find that diaper services are not offered in many cities, but that there are LOTS of different kinds of cloth diapers that can be safely washed at home. I then started reading about all the different types of  diapers out there:

pocket cloth diapers
all-in-one cloth diapers
pre-fold cloth diapers
fitted cloth diapers
one-size cloth diapers (can be pocket or all-in-one)

Then I started reading about how to properly wash cloth diapers. Lucky for me, it seemed that using an "old-fashioned" (ha!) top-loading washer was the best option because it uses the most water. That's what I have! [By the way, I LOVE my washing machine- it is one of my favorite things in my house! I actually thank God pretty often for an automatic washing machine; one trip the backcountry of Nicaragua will make you thankful for a lot of things.] HE front-loaders do work, but I found that many people could not get their diapers as clean as they wanted to in the HE front-loaders; especially not the all-in-one diapers, which is what I decided I wanted to use.

It turns out that there is a store in my area called Cutie Tooties that sells cloth diapers and related products, and they have a wonderfully helpful website. The original owner put lots of great information on there and I still reference it if I have a question.

I decided to go with an AIO diaper because it seemed like it would be a good place to start since the diaper is all one piece: no insert for absorbency, no pins or snaps (I got Velcro) and no cover. We also chose to go with the sized diapers* over the one-size diapers because we knew that we wanted them to last as long as possible (through more than 1 baby).  I researched the brands and BumGenius seemed to have the best reviews. The smalls, mediums and larges also have a "pocket option" so you can insert an extra liner for added absorbency. I went to Cutie Tooties to look at them in person and they had a couple of extra-smalls on consignment so I bought 3. They were so cute & tiny!

About a month before Rush was born, we bought an 18-pack of size small BumGenius AIOs from an online store where I had found the best price. We also bought a diaper sprayer that Ben easily hooked up to the toilet in the bathroom beside the nursery. It has been great! I use a regular trash can with a Kissaluvs brand pail liner for dirty diapers. I use BumGenius detergent as I wash every other day. In my dryer, I have to run 2 full cycles on medium heat in order to get the diapers completely dry. On hot summer days, I run 1 "automatic dry" cycle and then put them out in the sun- the perfect way to remove any stains too! I also sun them in the spring and fall if I can wait a little longer for them to dry. If I am washing every other day, 18 is the perfect number of diapers. If I go a third day before I get to the laundry, I am usually using my last 2 diapers while they are in the wash. So, 18 diapers, washing every 2-3 days is perfect for us. As for accessories, I do use inserts in them night to add absorbency.

I have been pleased with how well the diapers have held up. We are now using the size smalls for the second time. The only issue that I've had is that the laundry tabs on the inside of the diaper that hold the velcro in place while in the wash have started to loosen. This makes the velcro come free in the washer and the diapers get attached to each other and it makes the "loops" fray. But the diapers are still very usable. (I am thinking about trying to sew on some new laundry tabs myself.)

I have loved my AIOs so much that I never have gotten around to trying any pre-folds or fitteds. I have tried one pocket diaper: Rumparooz (liked them, but I just LOVE my AIOs). And I recently bought 3 of BumGenius's newest diaper, "Freetime". I am using them for nighttime.

I never liked the idea of all of those dirty disposable diapers going into the trash. Some argue that it is debatable whether or not cloth diapering is actually "green" since extra water and electricity are used to care for them. I am not sure if we will ever know which has the greater impact. But I feel like I am doing a small part to try to preserve our God-given natural resources.

I am glad that we decided to go cloth. It has been a great experience thus far, not to mention I think that it attributed to Rush being potty trained at 22 months. Another plus is that Rush never had a diaper rash one time, and so far, neither has Lottie. Cloth diapering is a commitment, but I have found that it is very doable & enjoyable!

I think that I have covered the basics. If you have any questions, please ask and I will try to answer them.

Thanks for checking in with our "Fruitful Family."

*In recent diaper "window shopping" I think that I discovered that BumGenius no longer makes the sized diapers. I can only find XS and one-size diapers.

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