Blog Transfer #4: Exploring Cloth Diapering
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I love me some cloth diapers. LOVE. Love, love, love LOVE. They are CUTE, they save me TONS of money, they’re better for Baby G’s bottom (less rashes), and they’re fun. Here’s some information on the benefits of cloth diapering, as well as the cost savings, from the Real Diaper Association.
I started out with various pocket style cloth diapers that I bought from a few different major retailers, then asked for some prefolds (PF) for Christmas (yeah, I asked for diapers… I told you I loved them- did you not believe me?). I also asked for diaper covers which you need to use over PF to keep the wet in. Daddy B didn’t understand so he didn’t get those as well, prompting me to learn how to make cloth diapers a little sooner than I’d planned.
Before I get into making cloth diapers, I think a little explanation is probably in order because there’s a lot of different types of cloth diapers…
Prefolds: If you’re not familiar with cloth diapering in 2012, this is what you are thinking of with disgust when I say “cloth diapers.” This is the kind that your grandparents secured with pins… then they put some ugly rubber pants over them. The prefold itself holds in the pee and the poop, and the cover or pants keeps the wet fabric away from baby’s clothes (etc)- and keeps anything that escaped from the prefold from escaping the cover. OLD FASHIONED, right? Yeah, well they had the right idea. Prefolds are THE SHIT. I reserve that phrase only for the best. I might not like them as much if they were still “old fashioned,” but they aren’t! So many cool options for using these. Oh and they only cost $1-2/each or so. Very affordable.
Fitted: These are like PF because they need a cover, but they have elastic on the legs and back, and some people put snaps or hook&loop on to hold them together. Or you can use a snappi. I made fitteds out of old tshirts, and some people make them out of PF. They’re slightly easier to figure out than the PF. I like impressing people with my diaper folding technique so until that novelty wears off, I’ll use PF.
|T-Shirt Fitted Diaper, Made from Old Tshirt and PJ Pants|
Covers: Instead of rubber pants (unless you really want to), you get to use these cute diaper covers that have a Pul (waterproof) inside. Some people just use the one layer of Pul, but I like to make my covers with Pul on the inside and a cute fabric on the outside. I was strongly motivated to CD (cloth diaper) because of the cuteness factor so I really don’t want to put ugly stuff on my baby. Covers don’t need to washed unless pee or poop gets on the cover (especially the outside). The Pul part of the cover can easily be wiped down with a wet wipe.
Wool Covers: Some people also knit, crochet, or sew using old sweaters WOOL covers… people love these. I hate wool so I don’t use these. But I admit they’re super cute if you don’t mind the texture.
Pocket Diapers: These diapers don’t need a cover or a PF. They are a complete diaper, and very similar to a disposable. They have a pocket in the back of the diaper where you put an insert (see picture). You stuff it in there and if your baby likes to pee a lot, you can add extra inserts for more absorbency. Most pocket diapers retail with a microfiber (MF) insert- these cannot touch your baby’s skin because they’ll cause a rash. The pocket leaves a layer of fabric between your baby and the insert- viola! No rash. The MF inserts aren’t too bulky and they have good absorbency. You can just throw them into the washer without taking the insert out, the insert usually comes out during the wash, and then you can hang them out to dry (which helps get rid of stains) or put them through the dryer. If the insert is still in the diaper during the dry cycle, it’ll take longer to dry. The drawback to this diaper type is that you have to stuff the inserts back in after you wash/dry them. It’s not a big deal, but it’s not my favorite option for that reason. These are really popular though and this is the type of CD that major retailers tend to sell. Oh- and once the diaper has been peed or pooped in, it needs to go in the wash.
This is a pocket diaper from Fuzzibunz, one of the larger retailers of cloth diapers. There is a MF insert is tucked into the pocket and there’s a flap that comes down over the pocket opening.
AIO or All-in-One: Same as a pocket diaper, but no pockets. The inserts are sewn into the “wet zone” of the diaper and they aren’t made of microfiber because they’re right next to the baby’s skin. Like a pocket, they have to be washed after one use.
Bum Genius has good diapers. I have a pocket version, not an AIO, but it fits GREAT.
AI2 or All-in-Two: This diaper is similar to an AIO, but the insert lays on top or is snapped into the diaper. If the baby wets or poops, and only the insert is impacted, you remove the insert to launder and replace it with a new insert. You can reuse the “shell” of the diaper until it’s gotten wet or dirty. It’s nice because you don’t have to do as much laundry, and yet you still have an easy diaper.
Here’s a couple AI2’s that I made (my first), without their soakers/inserts. The outside is cotton and the insert is fleece. The inserts snaps in right on top of the fleece and can be removed so another can replace it.
Snappi: This delightful product replaced safety pins so that you can hold together your prefold or your fitted diaper. No sticking yourself! They are ridiculously easy to use and they’re fun to play with. I think they’re about $4/each and I have two. If you lose things easily, you may want more, but I almost never use the second one. It hooks to the PF/fitted diaper in a Y shape, holding it altogether. Then you put a cover over it all.
Here’s a Snappi:
Scout demonstrating how they look once they are put on:
Inserts and Soakers: Not really positive what the difference is between the two words, but the inserts/soakers are what you use to soak up (clever) the pee. Here’s a picture of two inserts that I own. One is microfiber (recall from before that this CANNOT go up against the baby’s bottom) and the other is made from hemp. Hemp does not absorb well by itself- what people usually do it put an absorbent insert in and the hemp will be put behind it. For example, I could put the hemp insert behind the MF insert in a pocket diaper. The MF insert soaks up the pee initially and then as the diaper compresses due to the baby’s weight, the hemp insert soaks up some of that pee. Hemp holds a ridiculous amount of liquid. RIDICULOUS. It makes it very difficult to dry, BUT it’s great to put behind your MF insert overnight to help keep your baby dry.
I like these Thirsties Duo inserts as they seem to absorb pretty well. I use them for overnights pretty successfully. If you buy them, make sure you get the right size.
Wetbags: These are used to store all your dirty diapers until laundry day. I also have three small ones for my diaper bag.
Cloth Wipes: Disposable wipes are trash next to cloth wipes. If you’re going to be CD’ing, cloth wipes are super easy to make and cheap to buy. I like that they provide an extra layer between my hand and a poop explosion. They are also great to use for a washcloth as needed. I store my wipes dry and wet them with water when I need to use them. I keep a spray bottle on the changing table. Some people use solutions instead of water and some recipes can be found here. I felt like some of the ingredients might effect absorbency on the diapers so I just use water to be safe. I need only one wipe per change, two if it’s really bad. I made my own, but you can also buy cloth wipes as well.
Take your full wetbag, empty it into your washer and put the wetbag in as well. You’ll need special detergent for your diapers… a lot of detergents have chemicals in them that will cause your diapers to repel water. That is VERY bad! Fabric softener does this as well. This website has a spreadsheet of detergents that work for cloth diapers. I use Rockin’ Green, but I may start making my own detergent to save money after this runs out.
For my HE machine, I put my wash in with the detergent on cold/cold with extra water. I add soiled level to high or medium-high. After this cycle finishes, I rewash on a hot cycle without any detergent. Then I move everything to the dryer. If my Pul is having any leaking problems, I’ll run it through the dryer on high for 10 minutes to seal the Pul. I think some people do this once a month.
There’s some prep needed depending on what diapers you get, and if you accidentally put the diapers through with the wrong detergent, you’ll need to “strip” your diapers. Some people strip their diapers monthly by running them through the washer in very hot water, but I prefer not to do that unless it’s needed (if I start having leaky diapers). Right now I rarely have pee leaks and any poop has safely been contained 100% of the time with my cloth diapers. The only major poopy disposable diaper I’ve changed exploded everywhere (in public) so I’m always hesitant to risk using a sposie. Fortunately, I had my cloth wipes with me at the time and it made cleanup easy.
I do switch to sposies if I need to put anything on Baby G’s butt that might ruin the diapers. You can buy cloth-friendly diaper cream, but most normal creams will stain your diapers and cause them to repel water. That takes a lot of effort to correct (more stripping) so it’s easier to use a cloth liner or disposable diapers while you’re dealing with that issue.
This cream is safe to use with cloth diapers and we’ve found it helpful when Baby G gets a little red.