Cloth Diaper Confessions

For a year, we used cloth diapers and loved them. Honestly. The Bum Genius Freetimes were our diaper of choice, and the OsoCozy liners made disposing of solids very easy.

Foodblog-125706

Are you picking up that I am using the past tense here? Have you noticed Mazen wearing disposables in my Instagram photos? Sadly, for the moment, we are off of cloth diapers.

Up until 12 months things were humming along just fine. And then all of a sudden, the solids were no longer solids. What used to be easy to drop into a diaper pail via a liner was now a disgusting mess. The poop went beyond our liner’s edges, and I found myself cleaning it off the diapers with wipes, dunking them in the toilet (I will never do that again) and trying to figure out the best way to clean the edges before putting them in our wet bag.

I asked my friends if this change in poop style was normal. They said yes. I cried.

They weren’t entirely right. We switched to disposables for a week and then one day – the poop was back to normal. I happily chalked it up to teething or a new food and we went back on cloth. Two days later, I found myself with more messes. The cloth were just not working.

It’s been about a month now and we’re still on disposables. While M’s poop is back to the “good kind” (ha), we haven’t gone back to cloth. I’m just too afraid that the next diaper will be the gross kind again. And after a month in disposables, I’ve been spoiled. I’d also like to add that I’m never talking about one poop a day. Nope, my child is a poop machine.

I’m glad that I can change his disposable while holding him down with one hand (something I can’t do with all the snaps on the cloth).

I’m relieved not to have to do 3 extra loads of laundry each week, even though they were never that much of a pain.

And honestly, most of all, I’m so glad his 12-18 month pants fit properly.

On the one hand, I feel like a failure because I am just not brave enough to continue with the cloth.

On the other hand, I’m proud of the fact that we kept approximately 2,500 diapers out of the landfills by using cloth for the time that we did.

I definitely want to cloth diaper our second baby, if and when we have one. Pre-solid food poop was no big deal, and the solids for the first 6 months were simple to clean up. We may not be done with cloth with Mazen. Maybe we will use them again during potty training, for example. I just don’t know. But for now, we’ve put them on hold.

Cloth Diapers

Babyblog-0356

Please read this post as an “I’m learning” post and not a “do what I do” post. I have no clue what I’m doing! Which brings me to point #1: cloth diapering is hard!! Disposables are easy. You put the diaper on. You throw it away. The hardest thing is realizing you might need to jump up to the next size. Cloth diapers take so much more knowledge – from choosing brands to getting the fit right to the laundry. The learning curve is steep, but I’m hoping once we get to the top it’s all downhill from there.

We started cloth at about 2 months, although not full time. I wanted to ease into it and not put too much stress on myself. Also the diapers seemed HUGE on Mazen until about 2.5/3 months, so I wasn’t very confident they would actually work with his clothes and things. So we started using one every now and then and I decided that I had to jump in full time before I could really see what it was like.

People have asked me “Do you like it?” At first my response was that switching from disposables to cloth was kind of like going on vacation and eating whatever you want and then coming back home to healthy again. Disposables are like being able to eat cake all day long. I did not like the cloth at first compared to the disposables – who would, it’s more work. But like healthy eating, I knew it was the right thing to do for the earth and our wallets moving forward, so I kept at it. Now I can say that I DO like cloth. As much or more than the disposables. I just wish I could get all the kinks out of our process.

We have about 15 diapers that we cycle through. Some of the others in the stash that Stephanie gave me went to another blog reader and some were too small once we started cloth. These 15 are the perfect amount for a wash-every-3-days cycle, although I’m washing them closer to every 2 now.

KAY-0876

At first, we were having tons of trouble with leaking. I have been washing them in Rockin’ Green detergent but as many of you said, I probably needed to strip them. Stripping a cloth diaper means washing it 5 times in hot water with no detergent to get out any residue that might be repelling liquid. (Here is a great guide on how to strip cloth diapers!) I didn’t think our diapers were repelling, but I did this anyway. There are many ways to strip, but I just washed them in hot water with oxiclean about 5 times in a row. The leaking improved.

Now 2 weeks later, we’re leaking again, on and off. It’s SO annoying to pick your child up and feel a wet bottom. Not only do you need to change the diaper but the whole outfit too. I can’t imagine I have to strip every 2 weeks, so I’m wondering if it’s just a fit issue. Not all of them leak, and the Baby Land diapers leak more than the rest, so maybe they are just not a great fit.

My favorite diapers are the Bum Genius velcro ones. I love these because the velcro is just so easy to adjust. Stick it on and you’re done. The snappy diapers are hard because I end up snapping and unsnapping several times to get the diaper snug. The only downfall to the velcro is that to wash it you really need to push the tabs down so they don’t stick to everything, and that’s one extra step when you have a dirty diaper to touch. I also hear that it wears out more quickly and that your baby can learn to take these off himself, which would not be good! These Bum Genius are least likely to leak as well.

KAY-0870

I also like the Blueberry brand. They don’t leak that much and they fit pretty well. We have about 6 of these and I find myself reaching for them often. I hate all the snaps, but I like the rest of them.

KAY-0869

With the pocket diapers you have to stuff them and remove the insert when it’s dirty before putting it in your wet bag. Both of these tasks are a little annoying, but I want to work with the diapers we have and am not going to buy a whole new set just to get all-in-ones or another type. Plus I wash my hands after anyways, so although it’s kind of gross, it doesn’t really add that much extra. I like that the pockets dry fast too (I hear that’s the number one drawback for AIOs).

KAY-0875

We discovered the hard way that you better have that whole insert tucked in or you’ll have leaks out the back from moisture wick! Another plus for the Bum Genius and Blueberry ones – they have a flap to hold the insert in.

KAY-0874

On the topic of inserts, the kind we have are adjustable with snaps. When Mazen was smaller, I was using them in the shorter position, but they were SO bulky inside. I started just unsnapping them and kind of shoving the rest of the insert in there, and they’re fitting a lot better now.

KAY-0872 KAY-0871

Here’s one of our Baby Land diapers. I love the single row of snaps (the less snaps the better!) but these guys just don’t fit as well.

KAY-0873

I also bought some of these Babykicks hemp inserts hoping for magic absorption. I washed them 3 times before use as the directions say. They’re super thin so I was hoping for less bulk. The verdict is that they are just OK. They come as a duo pair sewn together and I tried separating them to singles and we had a big leak, so I think they really need to be two at a time in there, which means they’re about the same as the microfiber ones!

KAY-0862

It didn’t take me long to transition to cloth wipes either. A few times of trying to separate dirty disposable wipes from the cloth diaper into two receptacles and I knew cloth wipes were the answer to all of our problems.

KAY-0864

We have two packs of these OsoCozy ones and like them a lot. They are so soft!

KAY-0863

I researched cloth wipe solution one day and came up with this solution as the most simple for our family: this squirt bottle with 2 drops of our lavender baby wash inside. I was also using tea tree essential oil, but I just couldn’t stand the smell. I sometimes spray this right on M’s bottom and other times spray the wipe depending on how….wet….the bottom is Smile  I do prefer this to pre-soaking the wipes or having to go wet one in the bathroom, which both seem like a step of extra work.

KAY-0865

The wipes go straight from laundry to this cloth bin within reach of the changing table.

KAY-0877

We’re very happy with our PlanetWise Wet Bag. I do wish I had one more to rotate with the laundry because on laundry day I find a pile of diapers from that day on the dresser with no place to go because the bag is in the washer! I’ve also thought about just getting a pail to lift the lid for, but this is just sleeker and takes up less space. Unzipping it is a bit of a pain, but so would taking a lid off, so it’s just a fact of life.

KAY-0867 KAY-0866

I did buy this diaper genie for disposables, which we do use on occasion – nighttime, when we’re out sometimes. I have no idea if we’ll be 100% cloth in the future, but for now I’d say we’re 90% cloth. I really like this Arm & Hammer model.

KAY-0868

Hmm what else.

OH – laundry!!!

I actually don’t mind washing the diapers that much because I like doing laundry. And something about folding and stuffing clean diapers is soooo satisfying. But what is driving me nuts is that they still seem to stink a little bit after the load. I’ve been doing rinse – wash – rinse. I use the Rockin’ Green and oxiclean in the wash. I’ve tried drying them in the drier and air drying (which I would prefer not to do because of the timing). I haven’t yet tried putting them in the sun because we haven’t had many sunny days lately! I was trying to go every 3 days between washes, but I’ve switched to every 2 and that might be helping. Any tips on getting rid of stink?

**{Edited to add}**

Just washed them in my parents’ new Kenmore washer and dryer with the same Rockin’ Green and I swear some of the stains have lifted and most of the stink is gone. Maybe our older W/D (which came with our house) are to blame? I find that hard to believe, but perhaps there is just something off about the way the cycle works on ours?

This site, Padded Tush Stats, has been a good resource for learning more about cloth diapers. I think I’m actually going to switch to powdered Tide next because it seems to be so highly rated for cloth diapers.

Another problem we have: overnight. BOTH the disposables and the cloth have been completely soaking Mazen, his PJs, swaddle and the sheet by the morning {edited to add the next size up of disposables has helped…somewhat}. SO annoying when I’m picking him up to nurse and have to do a complete costume change before he can. I guess we have a heavy wetter? Other than changing his diaper halfway through the night, what else can I do to get the cloth work for 10-12 hours? I have tried doubling up inserts and that didn’t help. I’m also concerned about the wet fabric being against him all night long. Are there any cloth diapers you swear by for nighttime? Should we just use disposables for nights?

I’m thinking about buying 3-5 more Bum Genius diapers, but I’m also open to hearing any that you all love. I’ve heard good things about Glow Bug, Flip, and Thirsties. Which do you like?

25 Weeks: Laundering, Stuffing, Folding

If you remember from this post, blog reader Stephanie passed on her collection of cloth diapers to me (she was finished using them) in a huge recycling effort. There were tons of them and I was totally overwhelmed! I ended up mailing part of the stash (the girliest part) with another blog reader who was hoping to give cloth a try, so I’m down a reasonable amount of diapers and brands to give a try when the time comes.

IMG_7140Blog

A few weeks ago, my friend Holly came over and gave me a wonderful hands-on tutorial on how to use them. I thought that they would be really technical – “this liner can ONLY go with this brand” but it turns out the whole process is easier than I thought. I think the worst part of the cloth diaper system is that you’re not supposed to put them in your dyer! Line drying does save energy though, but it takes human energy to manage and a lot of time to dry. Probably worth it though to prolong the diaper life and minimize drying cost.

[We also have a cloth diaper club that meets here in Cville, so I might head over to one of their monthly meet-ups and try to learn more!]

This weekend, I took the box out of my attic and washed them all in preparation for a nice organization event (you have no idea how much I was looking forward to lining these up in drawers!

IMG_0852

Stephanie included this box of detergent when she sent them, and it’s approved for cloth diaper use. (I’ve heard Rockin’ Green also rocks!)

I put the entire box of diapers in my washer and pushed go. Since they were already technically clean, I don’t really have any feedback on settings since I just used normal. I need to figure out the best system for my washer…

Holly recommended I buy a drying rack at Target, so I found this collapsible one. Since it was warm out, outside they went!

IMG_0848

I was surprised that the diapers themselves felt nearly dry upon coming out of the washer:

IMG_0850

But the liners took much, much longer to dry. About a whole 24 hours.

IMG_0849

Direct sun helped!

IMG_0851

Once they were all dry and clean (too bad these eco detergents don’t get fun laundry smells : ( ), the fun part started. Here’s our changing table in progress:

IMG_0943

And here are the diapers all ready to go! I used the whole top drawer to fill with diapers and left the bottom two drawers for clothes.

IMG_0947

Clothes, especially newborn clothes, are on a shortage at the moment!

IMG_0958

I decided to go ahead and fill the diapers with the liners because I want to get this system as realistic as possible and think that stuffing while I’m doing the laundry and putting them away, although annoying, makes more sense so you have less to do when there’s a wiggling baby on your table.

On the right there are two bins of pocket diapers (multiple brands) all stuffed with a single newborn snapped liner and diaper.

I called Matt into the room and gave him a tutorial. He is sometimes even more “earth dad” than I am, so he is all for using the cloth. I think he liked the tutorial Smile And I know I enjoyed showing him the system!

IMG_0948

Stuffing each one was annoying! I think this is why people like all-in-ones. But I do like the versatility of the pockets – you can add more or less liners depending on time of day and they are adjustable in size from small baby to big.

IMG_0949

To the left, you’ll find a smaller box with just the tinier diapers for newborns – or maybe a little older.

IMG_0950

So little!

IMG_0953 IMG_0952

As well as a few prefolds tucked in the back. I don’t have any small covers for these, so I don’t know if we’ll go the prefold route (but if I were buying these all from scratch, I think I definitely would have considered it..)

IMG_0955

And on the far left – the extra liners.

IMG_0956

Back in the way back are a few non-adjustable diapers that are probably for closer to 1 year olds:

IMG_0957

I hope to get a cloth diaper pail and put my wetbag inside to the right of the dresser. The bathroom is literally 3 feet away and we are planning to get a sprayer for the toilet for when that is necessary. Also going to try out elimination communication at transitional times during the day (like after naptime) since the bathroom is so close (Matt is on board for that too). I’m all for giving things a try. If they don’t work, at least I tried.

IMG_0944

We’re going to use cloth wipes too – makes sense to wash everything rather than throw away the disposable and then wash the diaper in two places.

We ARE planning to use disposables for the first month or so – or until we feel we’re ready. I might throw some tiny cloth ones in in the first weeks or wait until 3-4 months. It all depends on how things are going and if the bulk of my diapers fit.

These boxes will probably hold the disposable newborn diapers and then whatever else we need at changing time (wipes, etc.)

IMG_0945

Once I got a tutorial from a friend, all of the cloth diaper information made so much more sense to me!

Here are some good resources – and there are many, many more online!

Padded Tush Stats (all stats and reviews!)

All About Cloth Diapers

New Moms, New Babies Podcast (this was very helpful!)

Also lots of blogger posts on how the system works for them.

We shall see how it goes!

PREVIOUS 25 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

No Woman No Cry

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks

14 weeks

15 weeks

16 weeks

17 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

20 weeks

21 weeks

22 weeks

23 weeks

24 weeks

19 Weeks: Elimination Communication

We are definitely planning to use cloth diapers in our house. There are so many different brands these days and so many women are doing it that while I know it’s a bit more work than throwing plastic in the trash can, I’m committed to trying it. For both the planet and for the cost savings over time. We’ll probably use disposables for the first few weeks, but hopefully once the cloth fits and we get used to parenthood, we’ll convert to cloth.

Thanks to Stephanie, we have a head start on getting to know brands and having a stash to work with right off the bat! When we found out we were having a boy, blog reader Jen emailed me to see if I had plans to donate the girly diapers. She has a newborn baby girl and was hoping to learn more too. I probably would have put these on my little boy to be practical, but in the spirit of paying it forward, I sent Jen a stack of pink 🙂

IMG_8514Blog

Tutorials

I have to say, I have no idea what to do with the diapers I have. I can’t really figure out how to get the inserts in there. And I’m pretty scared to see how our washing machine handles poop, especially when solid foods are introduced.

But thanks to the wonderful world of blogging, I’ve stumbled upon these super helpful posts on processes and brands. All it takes is one blog post to make something scary seem approachable!

More Like Home

Daily Garnish

Young House Love

Neverhomemaker + This One

Concrete Runner

Run Ma Run

Girl Evolving

Side Of Sneakers

Please link to yours below if you have one!

New Kinds

One compromise that I think are pretty new are the G-diapers with the biodegradable inserts that you can throw away or flush. You’d still have to buy the inserts, which aren’t reusable, but the environmental impact is still drastically reduced. I watched a You Tube video on how to use them and it’s still a bit messy because you have to tear the inserts apart before you can flush them, but definitely a newer option out there.

Elimination Communication

But perhaps the answer to the question of how to handle the poop is to not using either disposables or cloth. I was recently introduced to something called Elimination Communication. Have you heard of it? Parents train their infants to go to the bathroom in the toilet while they hold them over it. And to put it simply, it’s kind of like dog training. You watch your baby closely for cues that they have to go and hold them over the toilet, make a ‘ssssssss’ noise and they let it out. They do still wear diapers because there are usually some “misses,” as they call them, but the diaper changing is much, much less of a strain and potty training usually happens much earlier.

There is information on this site, and I also met a woman in Cville who started doing it at 4 months at a baby fair. And Pregtastic did a very helpful episode on it that explained it in everyday language.

It makes a lot of sense to me. According to the episode, babies are aware of when they are going to eliminate. They are in control of their bladders and bowels. But we train them to ignore these cues and go in a diaper whenever they want. That makes real potty training pretty difficult because we have to un-train the behavior of going whenever they want and re-train what was natural to begin with!

The experts recommend starting EC around 4 months, but you can start earlier, and there are a variety of ways to do it. Since an infant can’t sit on the toilet yet (or even a potty chair), the parents sit with the baby backwards on the toilet and make the sounds (ssss). Watch this video to see it in action!

image

I have no idea if I’ll do this full time (it is possible to do it part time) but I’m definitely going to give it a try!

12 Weeks: Diaper Dance

KERF reader Stephanie emailed me last week and asked if we intended to use cloth diapers. YES we’d like to try!

IMG_7140Blog

As it turns out, she had about 45 (FORTY-FIVE!) cloth diapers of all different brands that she no longer needed and shipped me a HUGE box of them! Liners too!

IMG_7139Blog IMG_7138BlogIMG_7143Blog

I’m so thankful to be able to try a variety of brands (and hopefully like them all) with such a great cost savings by reusing them.

The brands I discovered included:

    • Bum genius
    • Blu berry
    • Kissa’s
    • Names bottoms
    • Snap ez
    • Goodmama
    • Bummies
    • Thirsties
    • Smartipants
    • Babyland

I’d love any feedback you guys have on these brands!

I thought I would know what to do with them when I opened the box, but as I picked them up one by one to show Karen how they worked, I realized I didn’t have a clue! Inserts here and there, snaps and Velcro in funny places. I’m sure I’ll figure it out with some research – I still have lots of time!! And Cville actually has a cloth diaper club that I learned about about the Birth Expo – they said they would teach me everything I needed to know. I also hope to read up on cloth diaper blog posts like these from Emily and Sherry.

IMG_7142Blog

Thank you a million times Stephanie for your generosity! [I sent her a big package of Great Harvest goodies as thanks : )]

Oh and one more detail….I hope I’m having a girl just because I bet a boy wouldn’t be wild about zebra stripes.

IMG_7141Blog

OTHER 12 WEEK POSTS

Transitions To Two

Meds + Beds

Kerthump, Part II

Husband Aversions

PREVIOUS WEEKS

4 weeks

5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks

9 weeks

10 weeks

11 weeks