Archive for the ‘Cloth Diapering’ Category

Year One in Review: Cloth Diapers

I have never once regretted my decision to use cloth diapers. After the first two weeks of Jeshuah’s life and just getting adjusted to being a mom, I made the transition from the disposables they sent home from the hospital to the stack of neatly folded prefolds at our changing station. Within a couple of days I had become accustomed to the rhythm and routine of washing and replacing the diapers so that I always had a clean drawer full. It became second nature within days.

I love knowing I am not throwing money in the trash can by using disposables. I love knowing I am not contributing to a landfill. I love knowing my baby doesn’t have bleach and chemicals all over his soft skin. I love the cute, colorful diaper covers and even the slight added bulk to his little bottom!

Before last month, I could count on one hand how many times Jeshuah had had diaper rash, and they usually stemmed from being on-the-go and having to use disposable wipes which ended up irritating his skin. However, last month, I started using tea tree oil in his cloth wipes solution. It soon became apparent that the poor little Buddy was VERY allergic to tea tree oil as his poor bottom broke out into a bright red, oozing, bleeding sore:-( I tried to use every diaper rash solution to no avail. (He was also on a “potty pause” (see EC) so he was often peeing in his diaper and being wet, adding to the problem.)

I finally realized he was allergic to the tea tree oil and a friend recommended that in times like these, the dry-ability of some good, natural disposables would be the best thing to solve this problem. So off to Target I went and dished out $20 for 66 diapers. I literally felt sick. I also praised God that I am not shelling out cash on a monthly basis for diapers–what a money saver! But back to the diaper rash. Within a week of using the disposables and not using tea tree oil, his little bottom was on the mend. Thankful for that invention, and thankful I don’t use them regularly:-) However, I can no longer use his cloth diapers at nighttime, as the extended contact with moisture gives him a rash.  I’m not sure if there is some residual bacteria in them or if it’s just being in wet for 14 hours that does it.

Remember, the average American will spend at least $2000 on disposable diapers from birth to potty training. Stocking our cloth diapers cost significantly less than $1000. And I have them all organized in bins downstairs according to size to be used for our next little one(s), whenever that blessing may find us!

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All-in-One Diapers

I am completely unimpressed with all-in-one diapers.   Nearly every single time I have used them on Jeshuah, he has leaked out the leg gussets or up the back. No matter how tightly I fasten them, he leaks!  I am extremely glad that I didn’t end up investing chiefly in these pricey options.  I continue to be in love with the extremely cheap prefolds.

I say this because today I remembered there a FuzziBunz pocket diaper that I hadn’t tried on Jeshuah yet.  It looks extremely cute and soft, and I had high hopes that I could button it tight enough that it would be sufficient.  But halfway through a nap, he woke up soiled all the way through to his clothes.

So if you’re looking into cloth diapering, my recommendation is to stick with the prefolds:-)

Jeshuah=Heavy Wetter

I continue in my desire to keep you all posted on my success with cloth diapers.  My friends at the cloth diaper store have said many times that cloth diapering is an art, not a science.  It’s trial and error, some guesswork, and a lot of experimenting.  Thankfully, I love it!  And I am determined to figure it out.

Our latest problem, which would be a problem whether I was using cloth or disposable, is that Jeshuah seems to have excessive amounts of body fluids.  And even though he uses the toilet on a regular basis, he is still having issues with soaking through his diapers to his clothes.  The most problematic time is, of course, the middle of the night.  A couple of weeks ago, I was awakened at 2 am every morning to him crying; he had soaked all the way to his swaddler again!

I tried everything I had in my drawers: the prefold, the cotton doublers, the hemp doublers, TWO hemp doublers, and the wool cover.  He soaked through every single one.

Laura and Laurie (of the cloth diaper store) were baffled, shocked, and practically dismayed.  After asking a hoard of questions including what detergent I was using, if I had prepped the hemp enough times, and where I was folding over, they exclaimed, “And he’s only 8 weeks old?!”  The first time he did this he was only 3 weeks old. That was when I knew we were going to have a problem.

I had one last resort (before caving in and buying disposables).  The Tiny Tush Wool Soaker.  It’s essentially a wool pullover with little legs and a high waist.  Everyone who uses it swears by it.

However, it costs a pretty penny, and there are multiple sizes I would have to buy.   So we talked about some other options and I ended up coming home with 3 hemp prefolds and 3 hemp inserts.  Hemp is the most absorbent natural thing on the planet.  So if this doesn’t work, well…I give up!

I’m trying it tonight, so I’ll let you know how it works.

Short Term Losses for Long Term Gain

The last couple of weeks with Jeshuah have been, well, rather exhausting.  The is mostly due to the lack of sleep I have had because of the late nights of wonderful Olympic games.  But I have also spent the last two weeks, staying mostly at home to help orient Jeshuah to a decent schedule and work on sleep training.  This has given me a lot of time to think. I realized  that we have chosen three very specific courses of parenthood that are much more difficult in the short run, but will be worth it in the end (or, so I’m told:-).

The first method of parenting is following the techniques found in the On Becoming Babywise books.  This approach encourages routine and consistency, teaching Baby to fall asleep and stay asleep on his own (without the aid of sleep props such as swing, paci, being held all the time, or cosleeping.

Short Term Losses: having to listen to Baby cry himself to sleep, working on keeping a schedule and consistency, keeping Baby awake during and after feeding (instead of nursing to sleep), lack of sleep (because you may be letting baby cry it out instead of just putting his paci in or nursing him even though he isn’t hungry).

Long term Gains: Baby can be placed in any bed anywhere and fall asleep on his own (even without crying!).  If baby is startled awake or comes out of a cleep cycle, Baby can return to sleep by himself. Baby sleeps through the night between 6-10 weeks old. Baby is well-rested and happy because he is getting enough sleep, enough to eat, and he knows what to expect from day to day.

Our next parenting decision that is making things more difficult in the short run is cloth diapering.  While I have detailed on this blog that it really isn’t that much more difficult, it has required more thought and effort than disposables.

Short term losses: Cleaning up messy diapers, more loads of laundry, and extra research due to the fact that Baby is an extremely “heavy wetter” and keeps soaking through every layer I’ve tried.

Long term gains:  WAY more economical, thousands of less diapers in landfills, and no diaper rash.

The last thing we have chosen to do that most people think is crazy is EC. That stands for Elimination Communication, and is better understood as infant potty training.  The idea is that not only are babies aware of their needs in this area, but they are capable of holding it and responding to cues in order to use the toilet instead of relying on diapers.

Short term losses: Requires extra time to learn babies cues as to when he has to eliminate, take baby to toilet, and teach baby sign language in order for him to let you know he needs to go. Can be messy when you miss them!  Lots of weird looks and comments from unbelievers.

Long term gains: Lack of diaper rash, constipation, and potty trained by 8-12 months of age (and no, I’m not even kidding you).

I knew when I got into this that I was taking a lot on to myself.  But I believe that all these things are not only good, but they will all be worth it in the end.  I don’t mind the “extra work” on this end when my baby goes down for every nap without a peep, and takes 2-3 hour naps despite vacuum cleaners, loud laughter, and doorbells ringing.  I rejoice when I get a nearly full night of sleep with a 6 week old and there are people with 1 1/2 year olds still not sleeping through the night.  I cheer when my little one poos in the toilet and I have one less diaper to clean.  I breathe a sigh of relief when I don’t have to find an extra $50 a month for more diapers.

When I am weary of the short term losses, I remind myself of all the long term gains. It will be worth it in the end.

And in the meantime, I am beginning to see that work pay off, and I sure am enjoying this little bundle of joy!

Cloth Diapering: Trial and Error

A few months ago, I posted some of my research on cloth diapers for your entertainment.  Well, now that our Little One is here in the flesh, we have been trying them all out and seeing just how well they work.  I feel like we’re kind of doing trial and error here, but we’re learning a lot.  I have had many friends who were interested in my findings, so I thought a post about my experience might come in handy.

I wanted to go for the most economical diaper route possible, so I invested chiefly in prefolds.  At just under $2 a diaper, you can’t go wrong, right?  They do require a cover, but I was told I’d only need 3-4, since they usually don’t get soiled and can be reused multiple times before they need washing.  Unfortunately, Jeshuah soiled four covers in one day, because he kept leaking over the prefold.  I love Thirsties duowrap covers because of their flexibility in size and the way they fit around his thighs.  Only once has he needed his onesie changed due to leaking. I thought I might need to invest in a few more covers, but when I checked the price, I balked. They are $11 a piece!  By the time you put the $2 prefold in there, if he needs a new cover every time, I’m spending $13 a diaper.

At that price, I might as well buy the incredibly wonderful and convenient all-in-ones.  I bought both Thirsties all-in-ones and BumGenius’. After trying both (Each $16/piece), I am torn between which I like better.  I love the BumGenius because it is so soft and fits him very well.  The Thirsties is not quite as soft, and the top of it seems to keep folding down and irritating his soft skin.  However, it has that wonderful duowrap feature at his thighs again that keeps anything from sneaking out.  The only downfall of the all-in-ones is their lengthy dry time.  Even with the 20 minutes in the dryer, it still takes them at least 24 hours to dry, and that’s when I turn them inside out.  (Not drying in the dryer extends their lifespans).

My biggest disappointment has been with BumGenius EconoBum product.  They’re supposed to be “one-size fits all” prefolds and covers, but they are so bulky on a newborn (and Jeshuah isn’t even a small newborn!), I couldn’t even get him close enough to nurse!  The covers are also ridiculous, with so many snaps and extra fabric it hangs all over the place.  And when we got it to finally fit snuggly around his thigh, it was too tight on his poor tummy.  I will be putting a call into the manfactorer and see what they can do for me.

Those were going to be my Medium size diapers.  Now I have to decide if I am going to buy the next size up in prefolds and covers, or if I should simply buy the medium all-in-ones and be done with it.

My greatest satisfaction is in the cloth wipes and wipe warmer I purchased.  I purchased two kinds of wipes: Kissaluvs terry and Comfy Bummy wipes.  The terry wipes are fantastic for cleaning up messy diapers.  In Jeshuah’s blowout this morning, one wipe cleaned him completely!  The other wipes are a lighter weight, and I typically use those if it’s just a wet diaper.  I keep them moist in Prince Lionheart’s Warmies Wipes Warmer.  This is incredibly convenient and useful!  However, the bamboo wipes that come with it, while some of the softest I’ve ever felt, shredded the first time I put them in the wash! Not impressed.

Overall, I am seriously enjoying cloth diapering.  I’m in the swing of things, and the routine is really quite easy.  Every time I look at my drying rack full of diapers, my heart thrills at how much money I saved and how many fewer diapers are in a landfill.  In the next couple of days, I intend to calculate exactly how much extra time it takes to cloth diaper.  I am guessing an extra 10 minutes a day. If that.

I will also post details of how I tend to the dirty diapers and all those great details:-)

Cloth Diapering 101

I have vague childhood recollections of helping my mom with my little brother’s cloth diapers.  I would have been somewhere between 3-5, but I distinctly remember plunging them in the toilet, and a tub full of cloth diapers. Unfortunately, that is all I remember about it, but just that memory has inspired me to look into cloth diapering in this day and age and see if it’s right for us and our little ones.

I have two main reasons for wanting to cloth diaper:

1) Cost efficiency. “Diaper Changes” by Theresa Rodriguez Farrisi calculates that $2180 is spent on disposable diapers from birth to potty training, while a person can cloth diaper for $1,250 and then reuse those same diapers for at least 2-3 kids!! So while disposables are literally throwing money down the trash can, cloth diapers are actually an investment.

2) Environment.  I am not a tree hugger.  I’m not even nearly as “green” as I should be, but I still see that we have a responsibility to take care of the earth that God has given us.  After all, we only have one!  Disposable diapers go straight into landfills and will never break down into anything usable again.  This doesn’t even mention the chemicals used in those diapers to make them so white and absorbent, or the fact that those landfills are full of feces. (Apparently, the manufacturers recommend knocking off the waste into the toilet before throwing diapers and wipes away, but who does that??)  At any rate, it’s only common sense that at some point, we will run out of landfill space, and that’s probably not going to be very long since the United States throws us a whopping eighteen billion disposables in any given year.  I just don’t really want to contribute to that:-)

With these two main factors in mind, I plunged into research on cloth diapering.  I read books, perused dozens of websites, and found myself more convinced than ever that cloth diapering was right for me.  A lot of people think it’s a lot of extra work, but once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t much more work than disposables–especially with some of the amazing options they have nowadays!

I soon found myself completely overwhelmed by the amount of choices I had in cloth diapering.   No longer is it your simple Chinese prefold, I now have to consider contour, fitted, pocket, and all-in-ones!  Because I find these diaper revolutions so amazing, I had to share a bit about them along with our conclusions.

First option, and of course the cheapest, is the Chinese prefold.  Everyone has probably seen these! But no longer do they have those scary huge safety pins! You can either use a Snappi or, my personal favorite option, simply fold the diaper and place it inside a Thirsties diaper cover, velcro over Baby, and voila! Stays in place and soaks up the necessaries:-)

Prefold

Prefold

Diaper cover

Diaper cover

Slightly less complicated and for a few dollars more are the contour diapers.  These simply skip the step of folding, but still require a cover.  Doublers can be added for extra absorbancy.

contour

Contour

For another jump in price and a little extra convenience, there is the pocket diaper.  This has a pocket into which to place your doubler and a sewn on cover, so there are only really two steps to this diaper.  Most options have multiple snaps so diaper can grow with baby.

Pocket Diaper

Pocket Diaper

And for our most expensive, most convenient option, we find the all-in-one.  This acts just like a disposable except you throw it in the wash instead of the trash after use.  These cost a pretty penny and tend to wear out faster, but they are at least handy for babysitters or grandparents:-) This also has options to “grow with baby.”

All-in-One

All-in-One

After much deliberation and confusion, I finally decided to just drive into Naperville to walk into a real cloth diaper store and choose what I wanted.  After the saleswoman went through all the options once again, I was firmly settled: the prefolds are by far the cheapest, and they really aren’t that complicated!

So, along with a couple of the other kinds for being out-and-about and babysitters, that’s what we got.  For the last four days, I have been washing and air drying these diapers multiple times so they can reach their maximum absorbancy.  In a couple days, I will go buy the changing table and put everything in its place.  Now I just can’t wait to fasten one of them on this Little Guy!