Update July 2016: I've had a lot of Mamas ask me for help with their Cloth Diapers (CD) or for a list of resources for CDing. I have yet to find a google search to yield a helpful site right off the bat. You know the kind that says "HERE YOU GO, DO THIS". Wishful thinking and really, Cloth diapering is so individual in preferences and what will work for your family...But I thought I'd give it a shot. I've been cloth diapering off and on since 2008. With Ziggy (baby #4) I decided I was not going to use cloth. It was too much work. My babies had so many issues with cloth. Chemical looking burns that left me feeling like an awful mother, and the stink! Washing and washing and stripping and all that wasted water and I still couldn't figure it out!! I wasn't doing it again. And then he got to be 6 months old and I had tried all the natural disposable diapers and they all leaked on this heavy wetter. I really didn't want him in gross mainstream disposables 24/7, what could I do? A friend directed me to Fluff Love Cloth Diaper Science and LIGHT BULB! I had always felt like the tiny little bit of detergent prescribed for cloth was ridiculous, this is poop we're talking about. How is it getting it clean? And how is all this rinsing and rinsing and washing better for the environment? I learned first hand that those methods not only don't work, but can cause serious health issues! Diapers are laundry and should be washed as such.
Where to start...
I'm putting together this list. Unfortunately trial and error are involved in parenting and CDing is no exception. But I know that when I was interested in getting started it was just so overwhelming! What type would work for me? What would fit my baby best? And typing any thing on the subject into a search engine was just..TOO much! So I compiled a list of information from my last 2 years of "research" in the CD world...I hope it's helpful for those interested in CDing!
BENEFITS of Cloth Diapers (to name a few...)
1. no toxins next to sensitive skin (especially if you try to find a plant based/natural detergent that works with your water).
2. Cloth Diapers can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, especially if you plan on more than one child.
3. No sposies in the land fills (and they apparently take HUNDREDS of years to break down, yipes)
4. Less mess, no seriously! I have NEVER had a blow out (you know where the poop goes up to the neck?)with a cloth diaper!
5. (my favorite) earlier potty learning.
I'm on my fourth little to cloth diaper. The older two cloth diapered at 24 and 19months. The baby I stopped Cloth diapering at 13 months because of skin and stink issues? She didn't potty train until she was 35months. Ancedotal? Possibly, it could just be her personality, she was also my longest to nurse (37 months) and my latest to talk. But with my first two and I gotta say, I l-o-v-e how easy it made potty learning! Now don't quote me on this, I only did it once. But it made the transition from diapers to underwear much easiser!!!
Now, we've also had problems with CDs. We have had our share of stink issues and leak problems. Which led to a lot of research (and trial and error on this subject!)...Which has made me a great resource...I guess?
So I'll try to keep this simple...
This is what you will mainly need to decide:
- How many you'll use each day (generally after the newborn stage around 8-10 diapers a day depending on the age of your little).
- How often you'll be doing laundry (every day? every other day It's not recommended to go more than 3 days as that can just get gross. And also not reocmmended to wash more than 24 dipes in a full size washer as diapers don't get as clean when they are cramped)
- What kind you'll use: cost factor vs. "cool" factor (keep in mind, more isn't always better!)
- Where you'll keep them when they're dirty (an actual dry pail? Or a hanging dry bag?).
- And choosing a detergent. (. Rundown on good laundry detergents HERE).
Getting Started....It's Not as Overwhelming as you think...Really!
HOW TO WASH (I have an updated rundown of our little washing routine below) I will add that it can seem a little overwhelming on the fluff love site, BUT there is a method to their madness. All you need to find out is
1. how hard your water is (I bought a water test strip kit for $6 at my local pet store, dipped and compared, when we use our water softening system we have soft water)
2. Find your washing machine in their washing machine index.
3. Decide what detergent you will use and put it all together to find out if you need to add a water softener (borax) to your wash routine to be sure your detergent is efficient and no minerals from hard water are building up in your diapers (it causes da stink).
Wet Pail? Gross. Dry Pail? The New Deal with dirty dipes!
A good Run Down on The Different Types.
Run Down on All The Types (video under 7min)
Considering Prefolds? No Pins Necessary! Introducing the Snappi!! (video 30 seconds)
TROUBLE SHOOTING (And LAUNDRY AIDES)
If I had to do it over what I wish I could tell myself:...1. Take your time. Start with understanding the different kinds.There are lots of awesome youtube videos and cloth diaper fb groups to help!
2. Just because it's new and innovative doesn't make it better...Or easier. This is big!
3. It's okay to try a few different kinds, order a variety and try them.
4. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. If only cloth diapering a diaper or three a day is all you can handle, do it! It's that much less yuck on your baby's bum and some thing is better than nothing. If there is any thing I've learned as a Mom of 4 is that trying is worth some thing. That's where I am right now, I use 3-5 cloth dipes a day on Ziggy and use disposables at night and when we're out and about.
5. It's okay if it's not for you. If there is any thing I've learned as a Mom of 4 it's okay to say No. :D
(keep in mind I was cloth diapering 2 littles for a several months)
5. I'd skip pocket diapers and AIO's completely.
UPDATE July 2016:
What I have now:
24 Medium (Red edge) Green Mountain Prefolds
5 One size (fits sizes 7-30lbs)cloth Diapers (Grovia, FLIP, and Thirsties)
4 Hemp Doublers
4 Thirsties Cotton velour doublers
40 flannel wipes I made myself ( hemmed with the serger)
A few wool soakers I made (I use for naps, but Ziggy is a chunka- almost 26lbs at 10months and they don't fit up his legs so much these days.
A small plastic laundry basket from the Dollar Store
A Few Snappies (I mostly just fold the diaper into the cover though, my guys a chunker and the mediums don't fit around his thighs).
In ClosingHere's the readers digest of what diaper care looks like for us.
Open diaper, remove. Wipe baby clean toss dirty wipe and diaper in
1. I use a cap of Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus (with enzymes) laundry detergent to line 2, I dump it on the laundry.
2. Close my Cabrio Whirlpool Washing machine and set it to casual: 37 minute wash cycle. This washes out all the stuff.
3. Add baby clothes and small laundry items, fluff up all of the load and add 10 lines worth of detergent. Wash on Heavy Duty on HOT.
(I just want to mention I am not being paid or any thing for all the fluff love links... Also, the reviews on that site are mixed...Some are adamantly against it....But I have to say their philosophy that diapers are not special snowflakes but laundry and their demand that cloth diaper companies get with it is refreshing! There are a few companies who are aligning themselves with the Fluff Love philosophy and I have to say...Follow the money. If a cloth diaper company is pushing a specific detergent, research the detergent. Read up on your options. Read what Fluff Love has to say about Charlies Soap (which was our experience)
Enjoy the process, fluffy bums are a lot of fun!!!