Thursday, October 16, 2014
A Cloth Diaper Update
As I was putting the cloth diapers in the wash tonight I realized that it has been nearly 14 months since Caroline began wearing her cloth diapers. I remember how nervous I was when we made the decision to use cloth and how scary the whole washing process seemed to be. I was so confused about everything! Now, I hardly even notice the extra laundry or effort and laugh at my pregnant self and the concerns that I had that now seem so silly. Here are some of the concerns that I had and how we have handled them along with some of the hacks that we have used to make cloth more manageable.
First, I was so overwhelmed by all of the options! There are prefolds, and pockets and fitted, one size, and all in one, organic, hemp, cotton, microfiber, wool. The choices are dizzying. I'd like to be able to say that I really did my homework and was really well informed about diapers but really I just picked the ons that seemed to be the most like disposable, were reasonably priced, and made in the US. We went with the Bumgenius Freetime all-in-one diapers. These diapers are a single piece with nothing to stuff and are ready to go straight out of the drier. They are also one size which means you use the same set for the life of your diapering. They do take a long time to dry but my husband has never had a problem with them and it is way less intimidating for childcare workers. Even my college age babysitter is a fan. These are on the pricey side but they were totally worth it! I'm pretty glad that I stuck with one brand and style, simple is good. We also picked snaps over velcro for longevity. We had a few velcro and they were sort of a bust :(.
Because we picked an easy to use diaper that is one size we are able to get by on just 18 diapers which means they don't take up much space and they really weren't that expensive.
With just 18 diapers we do laundry at least every other day but mostly we just throw them in at night after we put her down but before we go to bed. With that said, she does wear a disposable at night. I just didn't want to deal with the possibility of leaks. I'm okay with buying 30 diapers each month. I was freaked out by the washing process. Each washing machine is different and so I wasn't sure what I would need to do in my machine. Well, it's not that complicated. I probably over wash my diapers but better over than under! We do a full cold cycle on gentle with an extra rinse and then I add a scoop of the Bumgenius soap (I have also tried Rock 'n' Green and it was fine) switch the water to hot and do another full cycle on gentle with an extra rinse. When it's sunny outside I hang them to dry and the sun bleaches them out. When it's not nice we throw them in the drier on low heat for two full cycles, they take awhile to dry because they are all in one. When I start to see stains I can bleach them but I don't do that too often, maybe every 4 months or so.
What about the poo? Well, it's not as terrible as I thought. When she was tiny it was easy, no rinse was even required since she was breastfed. After that we got a diaper sprayer to attach to our toilet and really she usually poops first thing in the morning while she is still wearing the disposable. The only gross part is when she poops at daycare and it sits for a few hours before getting rinsed but that's not very often.
What about leaks? Yes, on occasion we will get some wetness. Usually this is my fault for not being more diligent in changing her. The diapers don't get the squishy wet feel that disposables do so I go by the clock and change her every 2-3 hours. If I go past 3 hours I'm sure to get a little over saturation but it's not too bad, just a little damp between the legs and I always have an extra outfit with me anyway.
Would I do cloth again? Absolutely! I love never running out of diapers. We did use disposable at daycare for the first few months because our laundry exploded and I was trying to get back to work full time. I had also bought some not so great diapers that didn't work for overnights so we had to use them up. We do use disposable for overnight trips or if I know I'm going to be somewhere with little access to a changing table and I know it's going to be more than 3 hours I'll put her in a disposable just to be safe.
One interesting problem that we encountered was the "fluffy butt"! Caroline can't wear little jeans or non-stretchy pants because of the size of her rear in her cloth diapers. She does have an outfit or two that we wear a disposable with because it's just so cute and would never fit over the cloth. Onesie extenders were also a lifesaver in the early days, it's easier now that she mostly wears shirts and pants.
I guess that about sums up our cloth diapering journey!