Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to Cloth Diaper {Dear Best Friend...}


How to Cloth Diaper

Now that we've been cloth diapering for almost four years, I feel at least somewhat qualified to give out advice to new moms who are contemplating it! You know what though? What I know means little to you because every baby is different and there is no such thing as the best cloth diaper. What works for one may not work for another. 

Biggest Reasons to Cloth Diaper

Save Money: You can save at least $600 each year, per diapered baby, when you switch to cloth. We actually save $920 each year because our preferred Eco disposables would cost us more than the average diaper! Cloth diapering accessories only run about $30 a year for us.

Healthier for Baby: Synthetic chemicals and fragrances in disposable diapers have been linked to health issues, especially in male babies. Moreover, we find there are simply little to no issues with rashes when our babies are cloth diapered. (Some chemicals in disposables: dioxin and tributyl-tin, etc.)

Environmentally Friendly: Instead of filling our landfills at every diaper change, you are getting the most life out of a reusable product. Something that was once the norm is now 'green'! The amount of water you use to wash diapers, especially in an HE washer, is much smaller compared to the amount of water it takes to create one disposable diaper that you'll use once and throw in a landfill. Even if it isn't, as some may argue, the above two reasons are enough for us to cloth diaper!

What You'll Need

Depending on the stage you're starting at, here is a quick summary of what you will need. This is the no frills minimum to get you started. Newborns require more diaper changes, of course, toddlers not as much. But toddler's diapers are not as easy to wash because they eat solids. You can always build your stash and find out what you like more as you go along, but this would get you started.

Newborn

  • 18 or more diapers: Prefolds with covers are really popular with newborns, they just work! They are the most economical route as well. I found that prefolds worked best for the first three months before one-size diapers fit the baby comfortably. You could also try pocket diapers (like Fuzzi Bunz or bumGenius pocket), all-in-ones (like the Thirsties AIO or the bumGenius Freetime), or fitteds with covers (like Thirsties Fab Fitteds or Bamboozles). 
  • Snappi: A must for prefolds, a Snappi keeps it on and makes it easier to use. It's good to have a couple but we did just fine with one for the 3 months we used prefolds. Of course you can skip it if you've decided you want to use AIO diapers, pockets, or fitteds. 
  • Flushable liners (optional): To minimize staining and keep your diapers newer longer you may use some biodegradable liners that make removing poop really easy. I've tried them on a couple of occasions and didn't like having the extra step of putting a liner in. You can also just use reusable stay-dry liners for the same purpose. 

Toddler

  • 10 or more diapers: One-size diapers are great for toddlers since you never have to buy a size up, you get what you pay for. I started diapering my 6 month old many years ago with just 8 diapers and washed them every day! I would recommend 10 for washing every day with a little wiggle room and 14 - 18 if you want to wash every other day. I recommend trying an all-in-one, a pocket diaper, and fitteds with covers to see what you like most first. I kind of like having all of the above and using them for different purposes (night time, day time, out and about). 
  • Stay-dry liners: If you use natural fiber diapers like cotton, hemp, or bamboo, stay-dry liners are a must. They will keep your toddler's bum dry even with a soaked diaper. For a newborn I found them not necessary because you change the diaper so often anyway. Great for toddlers who will spend 2 to 4 hours in one diaper. 
  • Doublers/soakers: If you have a heavy wetter or a toddler, you'll need doublers for extra absorbence, especially for night time. I find hemp to be the most helpful material for heavy wetters like my son. 

Both

  • Wet bags: You'll need at least one large and one small wet bag (to keep in the diaper bag). 
  • Laundry Detergent: What works for you will depend on your water, washer, baby, and diapers. I have always referred to this handy chart to help people choose a diaper detergent, I would only consider those that get 4 stars. Personally we use Charlie's Soap and it worked well for us. Right now I'm experimenting with others to see if there is something that would work better with our hard water. 
  • Wipes: Since you'll be doing diaper laundry anyway, it makes sense to use cloth wipes as well. They are gentle and soft on baby and superb for removing the icky stuff. I much prefer cloth wipes to disposable ones, it's like a mini bath for baby at each diaper change. Our favorites are Bamboobino and Kissaluvs Knit Terry Wipes.  
  • Diaper Sprayer (optional): We've never had a diaper sprayer, you can do just fine without it. But there were moments I wish I did! Those stuck-on-sticky-poop moments. If you have any level of poop phobia, this is great to have. 
  • Drying rack or diaper line (optional): While you can dry the diapers in the dryer, it shortens their life span. I've always line dried all of our cloth diapers and we use a folding drying rack inside the house, if I could I would use a retractable line outside to dry them - the sun is great at removing stains and bacteria!

Insider Cloth Diapering Tips

Don't think too much: There is an overwhelming amount diapering options today and a huge amount of information. While it's good to read some and have a little basic knowledge, avoid spending too much time on that. It's a piece of cloth. To catch poop. For just a couple of years, plus or minus. Don't stress over it! Just dive in and you'll learn the ropes in no time!

Choosing a material: Microfiber/polyester diapers are usually cheaper, but eventually you may run into stink issues with them, which often happens when your baby eats solids or you have very hard water. Cotton, hemp, and bamboo may be more expensive, but are easier to care for in the long run and don't loose absorbency over time as microfiber tends to, they actually become more absorbent. The biggest reason I'm still using microfiber? The stay-dry aspect, I like diapers that keep my baby's bum dry and that's why I use stay-dry liners with all natural fiber diapers we have as well. That's because wet diaper = rash. I can't exactly change him every hour!

Aplix or Snaps: This will depend on your preference. For ease of use, aplix/velcro most closely resemble disposables. They are also easy for a toddler take off and tend to wear out faster. We prefer snaps because they last indefinitely and my toddler can't remove the diaper.

Cloth Diaper Sampler: A great way to see what you like before committing to one diaper is to try a cloth diaper sampler that let's you experience different types such as prefolds, all-in-ones, pocket diapers, and fitteds.

Great Resources for More Info:

Since my blog isn't just about cloth diapers, I don't really go in depth on the subject, but these bloggers do! They know their stuff front to back and all around.

Diaper Jungle Detergent Chart
Washing Cloth Diapers (Change-diapers.com)
Newborn Cloth Diapers (Change-diapers.com, photo heavy!)
Cloth Diaper Giveaways (new linky every Friday at Change-diapers.com)
Lanolizing Wool Cloth Diaper Covers (Padded Tush Stats)
Intro to Cloth Diapers Video (Padded Tush Stats)
Cloth Diaper Dictionary (Padded Tush Stats

We have reviewed a ton of diapers here at Eco-Babyz, here they are for your reference:

Omaiki AIO
Little Fawn Organics Fitted
Watch Me Be Green Wool Longies
Thirsties AIO
Thirsties Fab Fitted (snaps) and Duo Wrap
Babykicks 3G Pocket Diaper
Sprout Change Hemp Prefold and Wool Cover
Cutey Baby Diapers
Real Nappies
The Little Bee Co. Bitty Bee and Bee Changed Diapers
Babee Greens
Grasshopper Diapers (no longer produced)
Tiny Tyke Diapers
Hippeez Fitted Diaper
Sunbaby One-Size Pocket Diaper
Go Green One-Size Pocket Diaper
Rumparooz One-Size Pocket Diaper
Fuzzi Bunz XS Pocket Diaper
Tail Feathers Bamboo One-Size Fitteds
Smartipants Little Smarti Newborn AIO
Baby Snickerdoodles Wool Soaker
Ecobubs Wool Pocket Cloth Diaper
Smartipants One Size Pocket Diaper
Thirsties Duo Diaper Pockets
Preston's Pants One-Size Pocket Diapers
Motherease Sandys
Thirsties Fitteds (aplix)
Fuzzi Bunz Perfect Size and One-Size Pockets

What's your best cloth diapering tip? 

Cloth diapering questions?

What do you love about cloth diapers?




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3 comments:

  1. Good tips. I change cloth diapers every 2 hours. I have different kinds and most of them i use two inserts, i still prefer use disposables at night. It's amazing for the first time with my third child she never had a rash!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Diaper Sprayers a few facts: No Diaper Sprayer on the market was manufactured for that purpose; they are all originally Hand Held Bidet Sprayers. That is why so many people are complaining about their sprayers breaking, because they were not made to handle the abuse. You can save money and buy a cheap plastic sprayer and then need to buy another one soon or you can get a Stainless Steel Sprayer at www.BathroomSprayers.com for a little more that will last, it comes with a 5 year warranty. And don't forget, using it as a Hand Bidet means you will save money on toilet paper, everyday....forever....Just a thought

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love using cloth diapers!!! For first time moms, you might as well, since you don't know the difference. Cleaning them really isn't that bad, and if you get a diaper service (which doesn't cost any more than buying disposables) it's even easier.
    We use g-diapers which have a snap-in liner and will take pre-fold cloth easily. A waterproof wrap goes on for overnight. I change them (twin babies!) every 2-3 hours, and they have not yet had any diaper rash of significance. Cloth is wonderful! I wrote about it, too... (nod, nod. wink, wink.)

    ReplyDelete

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