Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cloth Diapers

Don't run screaming, please. :) This isn't as hard as you think it is.

A few of the reasons I love my cloth diapers:

-They're cheap
-I don't run out of diapers (assuming I wash them on time, which isn't hard)
-I don't have to wonder what kinds of horrible chemicals my baby is being exposed to every day
-They're soft and comfortable, not scratchy
-They're cuter
-They don't leak as much
-They're cheap (have I mentioned that yet?)

We use Thirsties diaper covers like these, which you can buy about 500 different places. They're about $11-12, you need about 4-6 of them, and they last several months. They make them in lots of colors and even patterns now, I saw yesterday! Our initial investment was about $120, and we've spent maybe an additional $50 on covers over the past 9 months. That's about $19 a month, plus the expense of washing them. The initial investment was a bit steep, but definitely worth it in the long run. If you can't afford to do them full-time, you could buy a few at a time and work up to it.

Fold a standard pre-fold diaper into thirds and lay it inside, then fasten the velcro. That's it!

You do have to change diapers more often when using cloth. Since they don't have all those chemicals to "wick" away moisture, if the diaper is wet all the time baby will get a rash, and they can be nasty. The solution is simple: change the diaper more often. ;)

These diapers rarely leak. When we used disposables, we always bought the most expensive ones because otherwise we ruined clothes nonstop. Cloth occasionally leaks around the legs just a bit, but you rarely have those all-the-way-up-the-back blowouts like with disposables, because there is elastic across the top back. It's also easier to make them fit correctly, since the velcro tabs run all the way across the top of the front of the diaper. You can angle the tabs and make them as loose or as tight as you need.

The washing part is scary to lots of people. That part's not bad either:

I keep a "wet bag" hung on the corner of Tessa's crib, and throw the diapers and the dirty covers in it. Every other day, I dump the whole thing into the washer. They get a cold rinse in the most water my washer will do, then a long, hot wash with laundry soap (not detergent). The covers get laid on top of the dryer to air dry, and the diapers go in the dryer. Voila'! Clean diapers. This is not rocket science. :)

Occasionally, the soap starts to build up in the fabric and the diapers need to be stripped. That means you put just the diapers (not the covers) in a hot wash with no detergent, and wash them until the water is clear. No bleach is needed, and the diapers come out almost perfectly white, with no smell. You can also dry outside in the sun and they will bleach white again.

I was nervous starting out - would I hate them after a month or two? Would I wish I had bought something different? Would she grow out of them too fast? Would it be too gross? I've been pleased with the answers. She's 9 months on Friday and I still love them. I may have enjoyed something else, but this was the cheapest option, and certainly good enough. She does grow out of the covers and they need to be replaced every 3-4 months, for size and for wear/smell. Not bad at all. As long as I don't get a big whiff of the diapers when throwing them in the wash, they are not gross at all to me.

I do need to say that she still isn't interested in solids, so she is still only breastfed. This makes a difference in how clean the diapers get and how bad the smell is. Once she gets on solids consistently, I'll see how it goes. I may look into doing G Diapers at that point. But, for a breastfed infant, this is super easy!

Another great resource is Jillian's Drawers. They have a trial where you pay a certain amount to try several different diaper types for three weeks. You send back what you don't want, and keep what you do. You only pay for the ones you keep, plus $10! We did that when Tess was an infant, and it really helped me understand how different brands and types fit, wash, wear, etc.

There ya have it. I still smile when I wash mine, no joke. :) Hope you'll give them a try!

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