Friday, September 11, 2009

Cloth Diapering...revisited

We've been cloth diapering since Cora was 4 months old and where ever I go, I get questions from wide eyed mamas who look at me as if I was some kind of environmentally sound Saint, saving the planet one bum at a time. I'm not that. I'm just cheap, very laid back (read lazy) and Cora looks awesome in her cloth diapers.

We haven't really added anything to the stash we started out with, but I have learned some things along the way. Shall I tell you about them? OK! Because apparently I, like others who have gone before me, am inordinately excited about cloth that catches poop and will talk your ear off about it given the slightest chance.

  • There are diaper sprayers and scrapers and all manner of things that get poop off of one's cloth diapers, but we don't use them. We just wash the poo. Yes, we may end up with some very clean corn bits or pea hulls in the washer, but it's all gonna be alright. I promise. My mantra is "If it's solid enough to shake in the potty, shake it. If not, wash it."
  • This is my favorite site for diaper covers and for Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) prefolds. Free shipping! Sign up for the newsletter. They send out coupons and have regular sales. Some sites have free shipping, but jack up the price to cover it. Not this one! You only need about 4-5 covers in each size and I started buying little tiny ones for our next baby when they went on sale. All but the large size since we intend to be done before Cora is that large. Ahem.
  • Used diapers, used covers (kid/baby clothes, slings, and tons more). Minimal investment if you just want to try it before you buy a whole load. Buy a cover or two, buy a few cloth pre-folds. Then you can see if it works for you. We eased in to cloth. No shame!! The site is a smidge hard to figure out because there is just SO much, so browse around for awhile.
  • Tell people you are cloth diapering (church, work...whatever). They will GIVE YOU cloth diapering stuff that they are done with (or they will look at you with horror and sympathy). I had bags full of stuff I got for free from people who are done diapering, but the diapers are still good. It's like a secret club that we just REALLY want you to join.
  • All this debate about Fuzzi Bunz (FB) vs BumGenius(BG)...on and on about which is best for leaks? Prefolds (not the Gerber kind, Diaper Service Quality, or DSQ) and a cover, baby. (A Thirsties cover, for us, which has saved us from many a blow out. Thank you, leg gussets!) Night and day, we have never, ever, ever had a leak. They are called the 'workhorse of cloth diapers' for a reason. Plus, friends who bought BG at the same time we bought our pre-folds are saying how the aplix (Velcro) is worn out and they won't be able to use them for a second child. Good thing they started making ones with snaps, huh? (25 bucks each!!??! Ack!!) Cora's diapers cost $1.75 each, with a $9-$11 cover. Seriously. No sticker shock here.
  • If you live locally, Whole foods carries Charlie's Soap, which cleans, but does not disinfect, clothes. For that, add a scoop of Oxyclean occasionally. Since to start using Charlies you have to wash out your washing machine tub, we found it best to use it for all of our clothes too, so I don't have to keep doing it. (here's a chart of detergent's and how good they are for your diapers) But, sometimes man sweat needs more than Charlie's to come out, if you now what I mean, which brings me to...
  • Oxyclean is great for stripping, but make sure all of it is washed out. I do an extra rinse load since my washer is old and crappy and Cora has "princess skin." (ie, everything makes her rashy. Sigh.)
  • Vinegar (white) comes in GALLON jugs at Kroger(or your local grocery store) in the pickle aisle. I put in a cup or so if the diapers smell like ammonia when I am dumping them in the washer (and it burns my lungs!). If the ammonia smell persists or smells really strong in the morning, it's time to strip them.
  • For great stripping instructions, go here.
  • If you don't want to use a liner for rash cream, here and here are a couple of lists of ones that are safe for cloth. (I personally use Desitin Creamy with a cloth wipe as a liner if I need to use anything, and it's pretty rare since we are practicing EC. She never sits in a wet or dirty diaper which has historically cause most of our rash problems)
One final thing and I'll be quiet (for now). Traveling with cloth diapers sucks. (Piles and piles of blessings heaped on the head of my mother for doing it with 7 children!!) Just before our first trip this summer, I thought through every solution, trying not to have to buy diapers, but I gave in, used disposables and the Green police did not come get me. As one friend put it in a recent blog post " really didn't want to put baby poop in somebody else's washing machine." Yeah. But after this last trip, I was really glad to get home to our pile of fluff. It just does my cheap little heart good.

{Updated to add: I'll be back on Monday. Pray I survive my 'single parenting' weekend with Matt away playing at the airsoft event of the season. This explains what airsoft is.}


Stephie said...

yay - thank you for writing all of this out! very helpful!

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

This is great! I just came over via Organized Living by Amy. We used disposables with baby #1 but I'm thinking of going cloth with baby #2 (due in January). Thanks for the info!

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