Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cloth Diapering: Chapter One

Read my first CDing post - Cloth Diapering: The Prologue - here

So!

We've been cloth diapering L's little booty for a full week now which means I am an Expert with a Capital E on the subject!

Morning Playtime
Stylin' in Cloth

Weeeeeeell, not entirely true, but I thought I'd give y'all a little update on our stash and current system, along with some observations on cloth diapering a relatively slim bambino.

Our Stash

We still just have the 20 pocket style dipes {13
BumGenius, 4 FuzziBunz, 2 Bummis Tot Bots, and 1 Charlie Banana}.  This is currently enough for 48 hours of cloth diapering if I'm able to reuse one or two of the covers {otherwise, we'll change her into disposables at night}. Alas, 48 hours worth of diapers still means laundry every single day.  We'll be adding a few more of the Bummis and the Charlie Bananas {probably 3 of each} {more on my personal pros and cons for each brand below} for a grand total of 26 cloth diapers.  Hopefully this number will be the sweet spot that allows me to skip a day of diaper laundry every now and then while she's still little and dirtying diapers like mad.  As she gets bigger and needs fewer changes, 26 diapers should get us into a nice every-other-day laundry pattern.  

Our Current System

Our "diaper pail" is working great with the Kissa liners and Arm & Hammer Munchkin Fresheners... I've yet to catch even a whiff of poo.  Each dirty diaper gets a generous spray of Bac-Out before having its liner pulled.  Then both liner and cover go into the can, along with our cloth wipes.  We only started using the wipes a few days ago as I was waiting on an ingredient for our wipe solution to arrive, and man are they so much more convenient than using disposable wipes with CDs!  No more of the Where Do I Put This Dirty Wipe While I Put The Clean Diaper On Since I Can't Throw It In The Diaper Pail Dance!

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wipes dampened with solution
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wipe solution essentials

Our wipe solution is 1/2 T. apricot oil + 1/2 T. California Baby Shampoo & Bodywash+ 1 cup water.  I planned on using a spray bottle to spritz each wipe as needed, but have yet to procure said spray bottle... so I just made a half batch of the solution, poured it in an empty disposable wipe container, and dunked our wipes.  So far, so good!  I've also been using a teeeeensy bit of apricot oil on L's noggin to combat dry spots.  Bonus Points: It makes her hair smell like unicorn farts.  I swear I could get high huffing her little head all day.  Between that and the coconut oil we use for any sign of diaper rash {which is pretty much zilch since switching to cloth - just few preemptive applications}, this kid smells like a delicious wine cooler.

Here comes the Hopefully Y'all Don't Think My Discretion is Questionable part... Say I go to change a diaper and find a straight up Minimal Pee Situation.  I've now taken to unstuffing the wet liner and restuffing the cover for immediate reuse.  This sounds kinda gross, but the crotch of the cover does a really good job of wicking moisture away from the skin and into the liner... so it rarely feels wet to the touch unless you're dealing with a major amount of urine.  I employ a similar tactic if I find just an eentsy weentsy bit of poo - a "shart," if you will - except instead of stuffing a new liner in the pocket, I place one of the infant inserts on top of the crotch, covering the poo spot.  Will I still be taking these potentially-less-than-super-hygienic shortcuts when she's going through less diapers?  Probably not, but my child is currently a master of infant excrement and rarely makes it longer than an hour {when awake} without a diaper change... so... walk a mile in another gal's laundry room before judging, mmmmmkay?

Each morning, I take the pail liner filled with yesterday's dirty dipes-n-wipes, turn it inside out into our washing machine, and start my daily load. If you've read up on CD washing routines at all, you'll know that those lovely high-efficiency front loaders actually aren't the cat's pajamas when it comes to getting dipes super duper clean since they use far less water than the standard top loaders.  Kind of a bummer, but no biggie with the proper trickery!  You'll have to tinker with your own machine, but after pouring over posts such as this one {scroll down to "Washing Routines" for tons of ideas} and this one, I came up with the following regimen...

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Wash Cycle #1:  This is my "Soaking Cycle."  I select Delicate on the dial, Extra Rinse under "Options," and ensure Normal Soil Level, Cold Water, and No Spin are punched under "Modifiers."  I do not use ANY detergent for this cycle.

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Wash Cycle #2: This is my "Cleansing Cycle."  I select Heavy Duty on the dial, Max Extract and Extra Rinse under "Options," and ensure Heavy Soil Level, Hot Water, and High Spin are punched under Modifiers.  This cycle gets 1-2 tablespoons of Rockin' Green Detergent and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar {dumped into the bleach spot}.  Emily recommends a bit of bleach every few washes, so I'll be adding that into this cycle as soon as I can scoot to Target and pick up a tub of color-safe. 

Dry Cycle: Inserts, wipes, and the Bummis diapers go into the dryer for an hour on Regular Heat. I hang the covers with our handy dandy octopus friend and they are good to go in about 2 hours.  Sunlight also helps keep your inserts and cover crotches bright white, so a clothes line for the backyard is on my Wants List. 

Observations...

L is a pretty slender little lady, so even though she tipped the scales at 8 lbs 2 oz at her 3 week checkup {8 pounds is what all the OS pocket diapers claim as the "start weight"}, it took another 4 weeks for her thighs to chunk out enough so that our cloth diapers wouldn't leak.  Even at {what I'm guessing to be} around 11 pounds, she's wearing all the brands at just about the tightest fit possible. 

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Chunk-a-Munk... kinda

Keeping her slimness in mind {and also remembering that girls normally require less "crotch room" than the wee menfolk}, here are my thoughts on each of our four cloth brands...

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BumGenius 4.0: Just from reading others' experiences, I really thought this was going to be my favorite diaper. While it very well could prove to be in the future, it's actually my least favorite at the moment, because it's just so bulky on her.  I think this is because the BGs only adjust with snaps, instead of the snap + elastic combo on the Charlie Bananas and FuzziBunz.  Once she's bigger and there are less snaps snapped, I'm a-thinkin' this will be a total non-issue. 
- Pros: (a) snaps are way easier to adjust than other brands' elastic; (b) inserts have tags on them that are very useful to grab when unstuffing - feels much more sanitary than having to touch the insert itself; (c) easy to stuff because of the wider crotch. 
- Cons: (a) multitude of snaps + wide crotch make for a very bulky diaper

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FuzziBunz: I like using FBs a lot more than I thought I would, but they still rank 3rd overall. 
- Pros: (a) four-point elastic system makes for a near perfect fit; (b) easier to unstuff because there is no pillowcase-style closure on the pocket; (c) lots of vibrant color options; (d) narrower crotch makes for a better fit on a slimmer and/or girl baby
- Cons: (a) four points is a lot of damn elastic to adjust; (b) the narrow crotch is difficult to stuff

Big Girl in Cloth Diapers!
Charlie Banana: CBs are the happy medium between BGs and FBs when it comes to the snap / elastic ratio. 
- Pros: (a) the two-point elastic system means a great fit with half the hassle; (b) narrower crotch but not as difficult to stuff as the FBs; (c) this is silly, but I love the turquoise label. 
- Cons: not much to complain about here... (a) still slightly annoying to adjust and the ends of the elastic pop out of the envelope closure after washing; (b) these took a lot more initial washing to prep {4 or 5 times as opposed to 1 or 2 with the other brands}.  

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Bummis Tot Bot Easy Fit: I ordered two of these on a whim after a reader suggested them {thank you, thank you, thank you, April!}, and they are my absolute favorite diaper!  They are a bit of an AIO / Pocket Hybrid in that the liner you stuff into the pocket is attached to the diaper... it folds out for washing and then folds back up into the pocket for wearing.  
- Pros: (a) "easy fit" is spot-on... there is one set of snaps to adjust, and then the velcro makes it super simple to get a great fit; (b) the velcro closures are much more "outsider-friendly" - I will definitely ease the grandparents and/or babysitters into CDing with these guys; (c) they are so incredibly soft, both inside and out. 
- Cons: (a) all the CD Gurus say velcro wears out easier; (b) you do have to remember to re-velcro the closures before tossing these in the pail or else they'll attach to other diapers / liners / wipes in the wash; (c) these feel like the most unsanitary to unstuff because of the foldout liner. 

Overall... Even though there are things I dislike about each brand, I'm happy with our brand selections, and I think {hope?} they'll all still be in rotation many moons from now. 

And there you have it... We're rollin' right along on the Cloth Train, and will be pleased as punch to answer any questions y'all may have in the comments section!  I know getting started with CDs can be intimidating, but once you get started, it really is easy as pie!  

Rainbow Bright
woo hoo for fluffy butts!

Happy Diapering!  

30 comments:

  1. That last picture is totally Rainbow-Brite baby. I love!

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  2. That is one stinkin cute (and dare I say smug looking) fluffy butt baby you have there! So glad it's working out...one million hippie points to you!

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  3. Such a great informative post! It will be going into my favorites about cloth diapers for sure! I'm really excited to CD and this was another great post. I have a feeling our little girl is going to be on the smaller size (I could be way wrong on this) so I might need to check out those Bummis Tot Bot diapers.

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  4. Oh PS...if you keep up with the wipes-in-box system, did you know you can fold the cloth wipes into each other so that they pop up like disposable wipes?! I found it stupidly exciting, but couldn't get the wipes to stay as wet as I wanted them that way so gave up.

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  5. I'm cloth diapering too and have been for about three weeks now (my little girl is 8 weeks old). I have 2 Charlie Bananas and absolutely love them - they're the first ones I reach for! I have a crazy array of diapers and got them mostly from Zulily and Totsy. I have some called Awesome Blossom and, annoying name aside, I really like them! I also have some Apple Cheeks which remind me a lot of the Charlie Bananas. I also have a few Bum Cheeks and Lotus Bumz, both of which I do not recommend. The Bum Cheeks have leak issues and the Lotus Bumz fit inconsistently...leading to leaks. I just ordered a couple of Bum Genius AIO that I'm eager to try.

    I haven't started with cloth wipes yet but I'm making some now that I can't wait to start using!

    Great post - I love hearing how other CD'ing mommas are doing it!

    thelifeandtimesoflittleboo.blogspot.com

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  6. I'm so happy you are having such a great experience with cloth diapering. My husband and I decided when I was expecting to use cloth diapers. We chose to go with a local diaper service instead of purchasing diapers of our own. We had a really tough time with it. The diaper service was great...our son turned out to be a 'heavy wetter'. Pretty much every time I changed a diaper I had to change his clothes too. After much frustration we ended up switching to disposable....it was a total bummer.

    I tip my hat to you guys for doing so well!!!!

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  7. Love your blog! I am expecting my first child in early May! I love hearing about other mom's who aren't afraid to do things their own way! Good for you for sticking with cloth diapers and I'm glad its working! It does make you feel smug when people act like you can't do something and they are wrong!!
    jessica
    www.happygirlprettygirll.blogspot.com

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  8. I am one of those "super secret readers" who never post, although I should! My little girl, Blair (yes, I know that was one of your runner-up names!) just turned 3 months and we've been cloth diapering since about one month. Here are some tips that you can use or completely ignore:

    - I wouldn't buy more diapers now. B only uses 6-7 diapers now, and with 22 in our stash, I can even go 3 days between washes (I don't care if it's gross...it saves me laundry time!)! Another reason to wait is while you have your favorites now, they might change as she grows. But waiting until you know if you need more for sure or not is another good way to save $$.

    - Have you heard of Rumparoos? They are my favorites because they have an extra "gusset."

    - About a week into CDing Blair, she started getting wet, especially around the thighs. Obvious to everyone but me, it was because she was still too little. So if you have that, don't freak out that you need to strip! Just give her some time to fill out and keep 'em snug.

    - I have yet to have a poop "blowout." For this reason alone, I love cloth. Having said that, she will have one tomorrow.

    So happy to hear it's working out well for you...I love it and feel like frickin' Captain Planet every time I put a diaper on her.

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  9. I love Tots Bots! They're our go-to for daycare and the ones my husband and I tend to gravitate to most. I think you can actually move one of your cons to the pros column: they unstuff by themselves in the wash! I haven't had one instance yet where they haven't, and I have a similar wash routine to yours (rinse and spin cycle, no spin; heavy duty cycle). I've also noticed that my Fuzzibunz liners come out in the wash too. No such luck with the BumGenius or the Rumparoos - they just ball up in the pocket and then I have to rewash.

    I also think that the Tots Bots velcro will last for a while. When I compare it to the velcro on BGs, it's waaaay better quality.

    Drying diapers in the sun is amazing. It blows my mind how much stainage comes out! We have yet to have a stain that didn't come out in the sun, and we've been CDing for about 9 weeks now. You can always use a clothes drying rack outside until you get a clothesline.

    I ended up starting to use cloth wipes because we had a huge surplus of baby washcloths. I just got a spray bottle from Lowes and use that and the washcloths. After he's slept through the night, I feel like spraying the solution directly on him and then wiping gets rid of the pee residue better. (I almost said "pee-ness" and then I realized that we definitely don't want to get rid of that.)

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    1. BRILLIANT call on the Tot Bots unstuffing themselves - didn't even think to try that! Thank you!

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    2. I was going to say the same thing- our Tots Bots have always unstuffed on their own. If only the BumGenius and Rumparooz would do the same!

      I'm not so into pulling liners out fresh off the baby's bottom though, so a lot of times I'll pull them out of our BumGenius and Rumparooz after the first wash cycle but before the heavy duty wash.

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    3. Do you use a certain solution on the wipes when you're changing your son or is baby soap and water sufficient? Also, do you have to soak the diapers in any kind of solution between washes or can you just dump them in the pail and deal with them at wash time?

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    4. I use apricot oil, baby wash, and water for my wipe solution...exact recipe is above in the post. I spray the dipes w/ Bac-Out before they go in the pail - link is also above in the post!

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    5. Thanks Kate! Any experience with Grovia diapers? Babysteals has a deal on them today.

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    6. I use a combination of baby wash, baby oil, and water. I think I just googled "cloth wipe solution" and went with the recipe that involved stuff I already had (and actually had been gifted, so our cost for cloth wipes has been the $2 spray bottle!) I also use Bac-Out. It's supposed to - and from what I can tell, does - minimize staining and smells. And my favorite trick for minimizing smells is our diaper pail setup. We have a pail liner lining a simple human trash can, and the liner has a small cloth square that you can put essential oils on so for a day it smells kind of nice. It's still a diaper pail though...

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    7. And I like Smile Steady's suggestion for pulling out liners after the rinse cycle - a lot of times it gets most of them out of the pockets or at least gets them partially out!

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    8. So THAT'S what that little square on my liner is for! Good to know....gotta get me some essential oils!

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  10. Glad cloth diapering is going so well for you. We are having a similarly good experience. I wanted to chime in agreeing with Alyssa -- if you're game you could stick with 20 diapers because L shouldn't be going through so many for much longer. We have 20 and it's the perfect amount, increasingly so now that our little lady is over 3 months old. Like Alyssa said we're going through 6 or 7 a day now. Keep up the good work!

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  11. I cloth diapered until I went back to work because I didn't want to fight with our daycare and be termed a "problem parent" once they indicated that they weren't so excited about cloth. So that is a qualifier to my limited CD experience, but I loved our Rumparoos. The extra gusset sold my husband because I told him it meant fewer encounters with explosive poop. I also agree with another poster that L will cut down on the number of changes she needs, so you might not need to buy more in the long run. Oh, cloth diapering. I was going to be green and save us some money, but now I just have a drawer full of adorable diapers and a trash can full of disposables. Sigh.

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    1. That totally stinks! Our daycare said they would use CDs, but they didn't seem thrilled, so I was really nervous the first day that they wouldn't treat Calvin well because he was in CDs. I was so preemptively apologetic, and it turned out I was worrying for naught. They love the bright colors and don't mind it at all. I still only send velcro dipes in though. And sorry for hijacking your comments tonight, Kate - I'm feeding the baby, obvi the perfect time to read blogs.

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  12. She is super cute in her cloth diapers!
    I am cloth diapering and have the same washing machine as you. Have you ever tried the "sanitary" cycle for the CDs? I have just been using that cycle and (so far - about a month of use) it seems to be doing the job, but I'm nervous because no one talks about using it... always a soak cycle first, then wash cycle. Am I destroying my diapers?
    We are also fans of Charlie Banana, although I'm afraid my (6 month old, 21 lb CHUNK) sweetie is going to grow out of them before we can get him on the potty.

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    1. I originally intended on using the sanitize cycle, but then I read that the heat can degrade the PUL, making the diapers lose their waterproofing over time. I'm not sure how long it would take or if it's true, but it scared me enough to wash on warm/cold with an intermittent hot/cold wash.

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  13. P.S. LOVE your 'slightly less than hygienic' shortcuts. Will be trying them out, as I'm looking for a way to go longer than 24 hours between diaper loads.

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  14. I cloth diapered with Rumparooz for my youngest's first year. It was such a great experience! Good for you!

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  15. Great post Kate! I am actually off to my local diaper store today to buy some extra pockets for my newest addition. I just forgot how stinking cute an 8 lb baby is in cloth. He looks so handsome.

    I totally agree with the post about finding out which ones you do not have to unstuff.We have the Thirties brand and they do it themselves in the wash! I love that feature of them.

    Be careful with the bleach. Too much over bleaching can cause the diapers to wear quicker. A line is in my backyard and I am hanging mine out right now since breastfeed poops can stain but the sun is amazing!

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  16. this post could not come at a better time! thank you, thank you, thank you! I was trying to get the last of my "essentials" for cloth diapering and this was such a great resource. the nesting has taken full force and everything is now ordered/bought! thanks again! :)

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  17. Haha! I agree with little b! That last picture is so bright and beautiful, and the colors easily jump out at you in bright rigor! It helps a child when she sees different colors in her environment because it stimulates her eyesight. The wipes are very cute, and the solution you used is very skin-friendly. The only concern there is that it adds up to the laundry. But nevertheless, it's a very useful material to use. :)

    [Loralee Dulany]

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  18. Can't comment on cloth diapering - but can on fashion. Those cloth diapers blow (pun intended?) disposables out of the water in terms of cuteness. So sweet!

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  19. I don't CD...but I did see that Bumkins are on sale on Zulily. Just FYI!

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  20. Staring at Waverly in her pink tie dye Keep Austin Weird onesie today, the inner Boulder mama came out in me and I had a "why the heck am I still doing full-time disposables?!" aha moment. Of course I broke the needle in my sewing machine last week when I was sewing my test CD, so I think I'm off to buy a few to test out/tide me over I can sew a few up; thank you SO MUCH for documenting your experience thus far so I can bootleg off of your hard-earned knowledge! xo

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happy little comments!