Monday, April 19, 2010

Cloth Diaper 101: You CAN do it!

I am a cloth diapering momma! I'm proud to say it and I'm always looking for opportunities to share information about cloth diapering. I have to laugh because as excited as I am about cloth diapering I can't compare to my husband. He's given more cloth diaper tutorials to our friends and family than me! :) We love cloth diapering, and while we understand it's just not for everyone, we can't imagine having it any other way. We started cloth diapering Avin at about 3.5 months because disposable diapers kept him with diaper rash and to be honest we just couldn't stand to spend $100 plus a month on diapers. We invested $200 in 24 diapers (23 BumGenius & 1 Happy Heiny) and we have never looked back. In this post I'll take you through the different types of cloth diapers, frequently used cloth diaper terms, washing cloth diapers, and cloth diaper accessories.

Types of cloth diapers:
Pocket Diapers (example: BumGenius 3.0) Pocket diapers have a "pocket" that you stuff with some type of insert (usually microfiber) and the outer part of the diaper is waterproof so no seperate cover is needed. These are easy to use, dry quickly and are very user friendly.

Fitted Diapers (example: Sugar Plum Baby or Tiny Tush) Fitted diapers are a super absorbant diaper that are made to wear with a waterproof cover. These are a great overnight diaper choice due to their absorbancy but the dry time for fitted diapers is somewhat lengthy.

All in Ones (example: BumGenius AIO) AIO's are just what they sound like. They are the most like a disposable diaper style. They are not as absorbant as the pocket or fitted and their dry time is very long.

Prefolds (example: Econobum) Prefolds are the cheapest of all the cloth diapers. They require you to fold a liner and place inside a seperate cover. They dry quickly but can be confusing to fold.

One Size Diapers (example: Fuzzi Bunz One Size) One size diapers are usually pocket diapers with a series of snaps on the front or hip that allow the diaper to grow with your baby. They can be rather bulky on small babies but they save a lot of money because you can use the same diaper from birth to potty training.

Hybrid Diapers I'm not sure "hybrid diaper" is an actual term but it is what I use when I refer to my Flip Diapers. The Flip Diaper system uses a cover that can be paired with either a lay-in cloth liner or a disposable liner. gDiapers and GroBaby also offer similar options. They are great for daytime travel when you don't want to pack along a large stack of cloth diapers.

Everyone has their own preference and motivation for choosing a specific diaper. Some things to ask yourself when you are planning your diaper purchase are 1)How important is cost to me? 2)Will my baby stay still long enough to put on a prefold and cover? 3)How important is the length of time it takes to dry? 4) Is a trim fit more important than only having to buy one set of diapers?

Once you decide what kind of diaper you think you would prefer I suggest you go to your local cloth diaper store and actually look them over. Cloth diapers come in so many fabrics and prints that you may find out you love something else even more. I purchased half of my diapers new and half used. Purchasing your cloth diapers used saves even more money and is perfectly safe for your baby. You will want be familiar with some common cloth diapering abbreviations before you buy.

Frequently Used Cloth Diaper Abbreviations:

AIO - All in One diaper
AI2 - All in Two diaper (typically a pocket diaper)
CD - cloth diaper
CPF - Chinese prefold
IPF - Indian Prefold
DSQ - Diaper service quality
EUC - Excellent used condition
GUC - Good used condition
F&C - Free & Clear (used referring to detergents)
PUL - polyurethane laminate, a material used to make diaper covers/wraps
Woolie, Shortie, Longie - Refers to diaper covers made from wool
Seconds- Second Quality Cloth Diapers are diapers that have some (usually minor) flaw in the design or construction of them.
'Sposie- A Disposable diaper
Diaper Pail Liner - Usually made of PUL, fits inside a trash can or diaper pail to hold dirty diapers
Wet/Dry Bag - Usually made of PUL or similar material, used to hold dirty diapers on the go

Washing Cloth Diapers: I had wanted to cloth diaper before Avin was born but I had heard horror stories about the time and effort required to keep cloth diapers clean. I kicked myself when I found out that those stories were true 30 years ago! Today's cloth diapers are nothing like what our mom's had available to them. Caution: You do have to use cloth diaper detergent! All cloth diapering mom's have their own method for washing so I will just share mine. When we change Avin's diaper I toss the dirty diaper into a kitchen trash can that has a diaper pail liner in it. (If it is a poopy diaper I wipe it out with a wipe and toss the solids into the diaper genie). Many people use a diaper sprayer and rinse out into the toilet. At the end of the day I take the liner full of dirty diapers down to the washing machine. I seperate the diapers out into their different pieces (we use AI2 and fitteds) and I do one COLD rinse. Then I do one Heavy Duty HOT wash with 2 scoops of Rockin Green Cloth Diaper Soap with an extra COLD rinse at the end. You must use some type of cloth diaper detergent because other detergents contain elements that will cause your diapers to stop absorbing and start actually repelling and leaking. Some popular brands are Charlies, Rockin Green, and Tiny Bubbles. Once the diapers are washed I usually hang any piece that has velcro or elastic up to dry and I toss the rest in the dryer. You do not use fabric softner or dryer sheets with cloth diapers. If you get stains setting your diapers out in the sun to dry will clear most of them up.

Cloth Diaper Accessories: When you use cloth diapers you don't have to HAVE to have anything special except the cloth diaper detergent and cloth diaper safe diaper rash ointment. Diaper rashes are rare with cloth diapers but they do still happen occasionally. You cannot use regular diaper rash ointment (Desitin, Butt Paste, etc) because they will coat your diapers and cause them to repell liquid. You need a cloth diaper safe ointment. My favorite brand is Sweet Cheeks but other popular brands include Grandma El's and Northern Essence.

Some people use a diaper sprayer which connects to your toilet and works like a mini shower for your diapers. I don't have one and I don't have any issues with my diapers.

A couple of things I do have and LOVE are: 1) A small wet bag- mine is made by Cutey Baby and holds about 5 dirty diapers. It is a super cute print and fits down in my diaper bag. It's great for storing both dirty clothes and diapers. When you get back home you can toss the bag itself in the washer for easy clean up. 2) A diaper pail liner- I just recently got a diaper pail liner and now I can't imagine life without it! Before I would spray my diaper pail (aka a kitchen trash can) down with Lysol Spray everynight when I emptied it and once or twice a week I had to scrub it out with a disinfecting cleaner. Now I just pull the liner out and toss it in the wash with the diapers. It also made a great dirty clothes bag when we traveled this weekend.

Of course no matter what type of diaper you use you still need wipes to get your baby's bottom clean. I still use mostly disposable wipes for poopy diapers but I use cloth wipes for hand and face washing after meals and other quick clean ups. Cloth wipes can be as simple as baby wash cloths wetted in water. For more great in-depth information about using cloth wipes please visit The Eco-Friendly Family.

If you have any other questions or comments regarding cloth diapering please feel free to leave a comment. I'm no cloth diapering expert, just a cloth diapering addict, but I'd be happy to share what I know.


MommyMonkey said...

Thanks so much for this post! I still feel a bit overwhelmed about cloth diapers but I'm very determined to use them on my baby! She is due in a week and a half and I think she's pretty comfy in there! :) Good to know I have a CD momma available if I have questions! Thanks again for all of the info!


Avin's Momma said...

Don't stress over using cloth diapers, if you do laundry you can cloth diaper! :) Just remember that it isn't "failure" if you mix disposables and cloth, every little bit helps your baby and the environment! What brand are you going with?

bidetsprayerman said...

Thanks, you gave me more help than BumGenius lol. They sent me an email refering me to the company that makes the sprayer for them.

I have not gotten to it yet but it's a small leak so that should work.