Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cloth Diapering: The Prologue

What's cuddlier than a stuffed, I Luv U Beary Much teddy?

More romantic than drug store designer impostor perfume? 

Sexier than size-too-small, synthetic fishnets? 

Vday CDs

That's right, y'all.  It's Cloth Diaper Talk Time. 

Because nothing says "Happy Hallmark Holiday" like chit-chat about puttin' poop in your washer.  

Well.  Some dark chocolate, a little letterpress, and maybe a new pair of Danielles would be nice, but that's neither here nor there.  



I've briefly mentioned our decision to cloth diaper Quesita and have been very pleasantly surprised by the feedback I received... both by way of advice and inquiries.  This post {and the ones that will surely follow... get pumped!} will hopefully allow me to "pay forward" the encouragement of the former and offer decent information for those requesting the latter.  Let's get down and dirty...

Why cloth diaper?

You mean other than the fact that it boosts my Smug Hippie Wannabe Street Cred? 

Apologies. I just had to jam it in somewhere.

I feel like the environmental considerations** are pretty easy to conceptualize.  And while I love me some Mother Earth, it was honestly the lesser-known pros of cloth that really solidified our decision to take on alternative diapering.  Pros such as...

Cost: One disposable diaper runs you about 25 cents.  With the average child racking up 60 diaper changes per week, disposables cost about $780 per year.  If you're a total over-achieving asshole all-star and finish potty-training by the 2 year mark, you've spent around $1600 to diaper one child.  While cloth diapers vary greatly in price range, the pocket-dipe style we've selected cost around $20 a pop... times the 24 we'll eventually collect = $480.00 spent to diaper multiple children for however long that potty-training jazz takes.  That's a decent amount of dough saved to spend on fancypants skincare funnel into your little darlin's college fund. 

- Blowouts, et al:  When I first explained to E what a blowout diaper entailed, I thought he was going to demand a refund on this whole "child" thing.  Fret not, Husband and Others Who Oppose Poop Explosions!  CDing moms everywhere report fewer blowouts, not to mention leaks and diaper rash. 

- Ease of Use: While I've yet to garner the real life experience, I've been assured by those already in da CD Club that modern cloth dipes require very little extra effort compared to disposables.  I'll be sure and document our diapering routine once we get down to business, but if you just can't wait... take a gander at Emily's {aka My Personal Cloth Guru aka She Likely Wishes She'd Never Given Me Her Personal Email Address} posts on the subject {1, 2, 3}. 

- Cute Butts: Hell, who needs bloomers when your bum already looks so damn cute?  As someone who bakes in her underpants more often than she'd care to admit, I'm Pro anything that allows my offspring to be Anti-Pants. 

Nerd Excitement Alert

**25+ billion diapers per year end up in landfills, taking anywhere from 250-500 years to biodegrade, not to mention the raw materials expended to manufacturer those disposables, etc, etc, yada yada yada, read some research here.

What kind of dipes did y'all select?  And which brands?  Where does your stash stand now, pre-baby?

Start researching the different types of cloth diapers, and you're practically guaranteed an acronym-induced panic attack.  PFs, AIOs, AI2s, OS, MF, Pocket, PUL... there are A LOT of different options out there.  After entirely too much research facilitated by the lack of Bravo at the Residence Inn some consideration, we selected one-size (OS) pocket-style dipes. These little guys consist of two parts: (1) a waterproof cover with an attached liner that forms a "pocket" in the crotch in which you stuff (2) an absorbent insert.  The two-part system makes pockets easier to launder and quicker to dry than an all-in-one style diaper (AIO) while still providing most of the convenience of an AIO {no wrestling with a prefold cloth, fastening it with a pin, pulling a cover over the whole shebang, etc}.  The OS options allow you to use the same diaper from newborn (around 8-10lbs) to toddler (35lbs) by adjusting with snaps and/or elastic.  You also have the freedom to experiment with different inserts {microfiber, hemp, etc} for different levels of absorbency. 

Cd post

As far as brands go, we're starting with a sampling of bumGenius One-Size Cloth Diaper 4.0,Fuzzibunz One Size Diaper,Charlie Banana 2-in-1 One Size Diaper,and Bummis Tots Bots Easy Fit Pocket Diaper.The BumGenius and Fuzzi Bunz definitely seem to have the market share cornered with it comes to OS Pockets, but I've heard wonderful things about the Charlie Bananas and Bummis brands as well.  We currently have 13 BGs, 4 FBs, 2 Bummis, and 1 CB in our stash... for a grand total of 20 cloth diapers.  I plan on adding 4-8 more to the collection based on which brand works best for ze' bebe.  

What other CD Swag did you invest in pre-Quesita?

Here's the low-down on all the items for which we registered, but this is the crap we deemed absolutely essential to start out with cloth...

- Changing Pad + Covers: Yep. I registered for the awesomely wipeable BabySmart Cooshee Changer, posted about it, aaaaaaand then it sold out in all colors except black before we could snag it. Lamesauce.  So we ended up with this guy by Summer Infant. Plus two covers.

CD post

- Diaper Pail aka Trash Can + Liner: We seriously scoured four different stores for a non-expensive-ass trashcan to serve as a diaper pail.  When did every single trashcan sold in America become a $189 Simple Human?   I call Bullshit.  Walmart to the rescue. Easy-to-open, the lid closes tightly, and our Kissa Antibacterial Pail Liners {we have 2} fit nicely inside... as do these Munchkin Arm and Hammer Lavender Scented Nursery Fresheners{attached with those velcro-sticky thingamajigs to the inside of the lid}.

- OsoCozy Flannel Baby Wipes x2

To wet the wipes, we'll eventually get a little crazy and make our own wipe solution... You can find some great "recipes" here.  In the meantime, we have California Baby Diaper Area Wash.

- Itzy Ritzy Zippered Wetbag for dirty diaper storage whist out and about.

- Organic Coconut Oil to use instead of diaper cream {which can funk up the lining of your diapers and put a major damper on absorbancy}.  We have Nature's Way Organic.

Bac-Out w/Foaming Action Sprayer to spray down soiled diapers before they go into the diaper pail.

So this is for real happening in my laundry room right now... (!!!)

- Pressa Octopus Hanger from IKEA

diaper sprayeris definitely in our future as well, but with all our Toilet Troubles, I'm hesitant to upset the delicate plumbing balance in our casa before it's absolutely necessary {ie: when we begin solids... breastmilk poop is 100% water soluble and goes straight into the washer... yes, I'm serious, stop gagging}.

Must I prep new cloth diapers before use? 

Like all baby gear, CDs should be washed before touching delicate baby bums. I've washed the covers in our stash 2x and the inserts 4-6x to really fluff them up and amp up their absorbency.  I use Rockin Green Cloth Diaper Detergenton the Warm washer cycle, hang the covers to dry, and pop the inserts into the dryer on Medium.  I have noticed some of the inserts take longer to dry than others {Charlie Bananas in particular}, but the dry-time improves after each wash.

When does this Magical Mystery Tour of Crunchiness begin? 

We'll start experimenting with our cloth collection as soon as LJH fits into our stash.  Most of the dipes claim that 8 pounds will do the trick, but I've heard it really depends on how the baby's weight is distributed. {ie: chicken legs lead to leaks even if your kiddo is 12 lbs}.  We considered renting newborn size pocket diapers from a service such as Wee Little Changes, but, in the end, decided the better option for us was to get used to having the actual child for a while before embarking on our CD Adventure.  Baby steps, people.  Literally.

I think that'll about do it for the time being.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I'll do my darnedest to answer them!

+ + + While I'm rarely one to turn away a freebie, all of the products mentioned here were purchased by us or off our registry.  No sponsorship happenin' here... just a whole lotta CD Love. 


  1. I can't wait to see how the cloth diapering goes... I'm seriously considering for baby dos, but it still intimidates the hell out of me.

  2. This post must have taken you FOREVER. As an unmarried, still educating, abstinent 23 year old I am so not your target audience. Either way, I still appreciate the time & effort you're putting in to these post!

  3. I am really excited to read more about this! Did you ever speak to a person that did the entire CD journey via a service when you were making your desicion? We are looking at adoption so I don't know if there will be glorious water soluable poopies in our home and might need to outsource my crunchiness. But there will be CDs and love!


  4. @Lilly - ya know, we didn't look much into a service since the cost-effectiveness of DIYing the washing was such a big pro in our decision. I have read a lot about the change from breastmilk poo to solids / formula poo though, and while it's a bit stinkier, it really just requires the extra small step of rinsing the diapers before they go in the wash. You might check out that 3rd post of Emily's I linked to... she has a super fun contraption that helps with rinsing / soaking!

    But! Outsourcing the cleaning would be an awesome option as well!

  5. I don't have a child but this was very informative! I'll hopefully refer to it some day. Also- I use coconut oil as a moisturizer during the summer and I LOVE IT.

  6. I love you for posting this! I'm a momma to be that is going to go down the CD road and posts like yours (and Emily's!) are helping me to figure this all out! I'm excited to see how this goes for you guys and really appreciate you pulling this post together, super helpful!

  7. "Coconut oil.... Where is the coconut oil...." I laughed out loud at that one :) Thanks so much for the informative post! I'm not able to venture into the land of CD at this time for a few reasons (which makes my inner Boulder hippy SAD), but I look very forward to living vicariously through you! xoxo

  8. Just wanted to chime in on our own CD experiences with our now 8 month old. We're loving the Fuzzibunz in our house! We will have to try the Bac Out Spray to help with the ammonia smell for sure. We installed a diaper sprayer to help with the solid poops but found we rarely use it because they're so solid they just roll right out of the diaper. (sorry for the visual) But we're still on just veggies and fruit so this may change as the diet changes. I hope you'll love them! They're so great! Oh and we used the 7th Generation disposables until baby girl was large enough and they don't seem to hold as much moisture as the big name brands. You have to change them a bit more frequently but really how long do you want a dirty diaper on your baby anyways? We were really happy with them.

  9. Excited to see how it all works for you! That's one squeeful-looking stash you've got there, buddy. Our reasoning for CDing and plans are really similar to yours. I'm giddy to start washing everything this weekend!

  10. I'm a big CD fan. Anytime we put N in disposables (we do when we're out of town), he ends up blowing out like crazy and ends up with a crazy diaper rash. Plus there's nothing cuter than a fluffy diaper butt!

  11. I'm excited to see how this turned out!

    Being that my mom used cloth diapers on me and my sister (hello huge safety pins!), I think that's wonderful that you weighed the pros and cons for our society today.

    I even learned a thing or two myself :)

  12. Thanks for the great post! I really am interested in this once the hubby and I have a baby.

  13. I love all the info in this post. Thank you!

    One question, though, if you are returning to work, how is this all going to work out with whoever is going to be watching Quesita? At least around here, daycares wont do CDs...

    1. Have you asked your daycare? Ours was very open to cloth when we showed them how easy they are now.

  14. We used cloth with both our boys (and plan on it with #3 in a couple months) and it has worked great for us- used a combination of pockets/AIO and prefolds- found they were great with newborns that didn't fit into anything else properly! (no need to pin- you can just throw on a cover) Sunning is great for any stains too! Good luck, and its great you're getting the information out there!!

  15. can't wait to see how it turns out for you and your tips/tricks. we're going to CD too and I'm excited/nervous. I just received 24 newborn dipes [which is amazing] but now I'm just overwhelmed with prepping them... I'm scared to screw them up, hah. The diapers, not the baby girl. Okay. Maybe both.

  16. I'm way overdoing it on the commenting lately (can you tell I just love the whole new baby thing?), but I have to ask: with all of your specific product mentions, including the laundry detergent you're using, you didn't mention what you're using in the dryer for drying those inserts, so I'm wondering if you did research about dryer sheets? Given what I know about other products you use and the fact that you buy mostly organic foods, I'm assuming you're using some, at least somewhat, natural option. Dryer sheets without petro-chemicals are hard to find, at least where I've lived. But if you don't have something you're already happy with, I do have a recommendation. When my first daughter was born, I knew I needed a gentle detergent, so I bought All Free and Clear (which, I have to admit, I still use and love. . .I know it's totally not an earth-friendly product, but it is skin-friendly). By the time she was a couple of months old, though, she developed a rash and I realized that I hadn't even considered the dryer sheets. I went to Babies R Us and bought the Totally Toddler dryer sheets because that was the only brand they carried there (I didn't live anywhere near a Whole Foods at the time). I rewashed all of her clothes, blankets, sheets, towels (luckily that's pretty easy when everything is so tiny), and the rash was gone within a couple of days. We've been using those dryer sheets for six years now (my girls are 6 and 3), and a year ago I even switched to using those ones for all of the laundry in our household. I had continued using regular, scented dryer sheets for the rest of the laundry, but a year ago I developed a HORRIBLE rash, so I immediately switched to using the Totally Toddler sheets for everything, and my rash went away pretty quickly. The point is, there are probably more crunchy dryer sheet options out there, but in my experience the most important thing with little ones is using something without dyes and perfumes. The Totally Toddler website does say their "ingredients" are all non-toxic, besides being free of dyes and perfumes, but they also don't list those actual ingredients, so you know, caveat emptor and all. But the fact that they've clearly been so good for all of our skin makes me a loyal fan. Just wanted to recommend good dye/perfume-free dryer sheets in case it hasn't crossed your mind (though you seem a little more aware than I was before my first was born).

    1. I read that dryer sheets reduce absorbency in CDs, so I never used them in those loads. They got some vinegar in the rinse cycle. Doesn't get more crunchy than that! :) (just my 2 cents)

    2. Yep! No dryer sheets or fabric softener for the CDs! As Sara mentions below, dryer balls are the way to go if you want to soften them up!

  17. So happy to see another family going cloth! I hate using disposables now, they fit awful and feel weird on her.

    I would recommend some dryer balls if you plan to use the dryer for your CDs at all. The wool balls make less noise than the plastic ones. Yes, I have plastic dryer balls, but only because my mom gave them to me and it seemed worse to throw them out than to just use them. (I'm assuming you know not to use fabric softener since you've done so much research.)

  18. Love it! First time commenter here. I don't have children and won't for awhile but I've always known that I would cloth diaper my children. Can't really say why but I just know I will. I can't wait to read how it goes for you and bookmark your posts for future reference.

  19. i've been silently reading your blog since i saw on someone else's blog that you were expecting. we actually have the same due date (feb 28...although i have a scheduled delivery for this friday) and i am having a little lady munchkin too. we are also cloth diapering but have not gotten the same positive reaction you seem to have! most people think we have completely lost it! whatever..it is my time and money, not theirs! can't wait to hear how your adventures in cloth diapering go. good luck with your delivery!

  20. Man. I had forgotten the sound of the pump. Weird to think that will be a big part of my life again in a few months! With my son we used g-diapers and then just used folded cloth as the inserts when we were home. I've thought about maybe switching to regular cloth diapers for the new kid but I'm still on the fence. We also did like you - disposables the first couple of months to get used to the baby learning curve, then moving to cloth. I will say we did make our own wipe solution and I liked it a LOT better than the store bought ones. I have a great tried and true recipe if you're interested. I will say you have me interested in the coconut oil. We used something called Bum Bum Balm last time (which is awesome) but the coconut oil would be easier to find locally.

  21. I rarely comment but love all this cloth diaper talk...That's a good stash! I have a 14 month old and LOVE the bum genius and easy fits. I also wanted to weigh in on the diaper sprayer. We live in an older home and I worry about the plumbing so we never use the sprayer. He was exclusively breast fed until 6 months and now is completely on solids. It has never been a problem and we have NO stains or odors on our diapers. Just shake the poop off into the toilet and you are good to go. Two more products we love are charlie's soap (instead of rockin green) and grandma els for their bottom (smells amazing and is CD safe) Good luck and congrats!

  22. I am LOVING cloth. Seriously. I'm kicking my own ass at how much money I've wasted with one in diapers for over 2 years and one in for a year before I finally gave it a try. I am using about 18 BumGenius & 6 FuzziBunz. I got about half of them in EUC so I only spent around $225 TOTAL. Amazeballs. Oh, I haven't needed a diaper sprayer at all, and I've got two of the gnarly poopers. I dump solids into the toilet and if something is really stuck, I let the diaper float poo down in the toilet for about 20 minutes. It normally all comes off or an acceptable amount anyway, and then it goes into the wetbag. I have an old house so I don't want to eff with the risk of a sprayer. Seriously it was thrilling tonight that I bought a box of Huggies and they'll last over a month for both boys. I'm still using disposables for church etc. because I'm too chicken to ask people to deal with my cloth when I'm not there. Anyway, if you have any questions, let me know. Oh- I think the BumGenius fit my bigger babies better than the FuzziBunz...seems like the FB are just slightly shorter, but I really like the FB pocket opening being big- you don't have to remove the insert after it's used prior to washing because it comes out on its own, but with BG's you do have to pull it out. Good luck. You're going to rock this mommy thing.

  23. Can't wait to hear how it works out! I have what will probably be a dumb question. I know you kind of hinted that you may be leaving your job, but had you previously given any thought to cloth diapering as a working mom? Like, will daycares/babysitters do the CD thing? I'm really interested in CD but I know I will be working, so I'm just curious if it would work. I hope my question makes sense :)

  24. We love cloth diapering! We only use pockets, and originally I thought I'd love the Rumparooz (double gusset = less risk of blowouts in my mind), but it turns out they are super hard to get really clean with a HE washer. I'm not sure what kind of washer/dryer you have, but that is something to consider. We like the bumgenius, but our real favorites are the bummis tots bots. I seriously love those things.

    As far as washing goes, we do a cold normal cycle with no spin and let them sit for a while. Then we do a hot cycle with Charlies detergent and a 2nd rinse. I throw everything in the dryer, unless they look a little dingy, then they dry out in the sunshine.

    And we just use water on our wipes, then spray one squirt of Kissaluvs diaper lotion potion spray on his toosh once it's all clean. If we're on the go, we just use disposable wipes and throw them in the wet bag- you can pick them out of the wash after they're all clean and dry.

  25. Love the post! Very very helpful and I cannot wait for the updates. Thank you, it is very much appreciated!

  26. We love ours! I barely tried a few other brandss (Happy Hineys, FB, and Rumparooz) but we have 99% been a BG family. They just work best for us.

    I think you will love it as well. Good luck!

    Oh yea, the blowouts thing is true. We use sposies at daycare and they have far more issues with poo there than we have ever had at home.

  27. Blog lurker here! I have a nearly 4 week old who is now exclusively in CDs, but we started out with disposables. We had to use vaseline for his circ, so we couldn't use cloth at first. Plus none of the one size diapers we had fit him (primarily BG Elementals and Tots Bots). But then he got butt rawness at about 2 weeks, from all the pooping and subsequent wiping (I had no idea newborns pooped so much!), and I didn't feel right keeping him in disposables. We had gotten a Kissa's Newborn AIO that worked well; plus it had a snap down for the umbilical cord. My One Size Elite FuzziBunz seemed to be the only OS I had that fit him. I also searched for OS diapers that were reviewed as being successful with newborns. I bought a Rumparooz and a Ones&Twos. Both worked well, and I love the price tag of the Ones&Twos. Hope any of that is helpful!

  28. I can't wait to hear more about your experience once she is here! We really want to cd with our little one as well!

  29. I am loving all the CD love on your blog Kate. You have a great stash going and if you find something that you like, stick with it! We started with cloth a few days after my daughter was born because she broke out from the Pampers given to us at the hospital. I love both California Baby Diaper Cream and Mother Love Balm for Trush for her hinney if she does have a little diaper rash and that is rare! It might get a little red from trying a new food or when she is teething.

    For wipes, I use Imse Vimse Organic Cotton Flannelette Wipes. They are super cheap and easy to wash. I stick them in a Tupperware bin, add some water with a splash of olive oil. I used to use Tea Tree or Lavender to give it scent but found that olive oil is just enough to keep that tush soft! Here is a recipe for wipes:

    ind a food container that your wipes will fit in nicely, folded if necessary.

    In the empty container put:

    ~1/2 teaspoon Baby Soap/Shampoo (I love Dr. Bronners or Earth Mama Angel Baby for this, no toxic ingredients)

    ~1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (For dry skin, optional)

    ~2-3 Drops Lavender Essential Oil (healing and natural anti-microbial, optional)

    ~2-3 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil (natural anti-microbial, optional)

    Then fill with about 3 cups warm water, close container, and shake carefully. Plunge in dry, clean wipes to fill container and let them suck up the “juice.” Wring out excess liquid and add more dry wipes as needed. I make fresh Wipes Juice about every other day or as diaper laundry goes in. Wring a few out and store in a travel wipes container for cloth wipes on the go! Enjoy!

    Other optional additions some have found helpful:
    10 Drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
    ¼ to ½ cup aloe vera juice
    Up to an ounce of witch hazel
    1-2 Drops Red Thyme Essential Oil

    Can't wait to see pictures of the little gal!


happy little comments!