Friday, May 13, 2011

Cloth Diapering 101

Okay, here it is. FINALLY. The blog a lot of you have been waiting for, that I have procrastinated since I knew it would take a while to write. :) PS - I haven't proofed, so excuse the errors. The chirrens are now awake and unhappy hour is upon us. Time to go get in the stroller...

Now, while the title is Cloth Diapering 101, please note that this is NOT the only way to cloth diaper. This, is however, how we cloth dipe at the Norris house. So, this is what works for us. And one thing you will learn is that the whole cloth diapering system works differently for everyone. So, this is basically information and basic knowledge.

First, let me say why I cloth dipe. I am not completely sure. Hehe. I mean, yes – I do want to help the environment and save money, but I am sure I have other reasons, but I really couldn’t come up with them. Whoops. I do, however cringe every time I do a load of dipe laundry in my 1950’s washing machine that is not EVEN energy or water efficient. Maybe one day, but for now…oopsie. And as for the saving money aspect…cloth diapering is addictive. You always want to buy and get more. Oopsie. As long as you can keep yourself from save money for sure! When I calculated it all out, by the time that Nash is 5 months investment has paid off. :)

I will have to say that when I decided I would cloth diaper, I got the same reaction from like 90% of the people. A furrowed brow and a haughty “WHY would you do that?” Now, now people. It isn’t like I am falling off my rocker here, and I am not the only one! I have realized it is much more popular up north and out west than here in the dirty south. It would be so nice if there were cloth diapering stores actually here so that not everything I did was online, but hey – I have found some great websites, so no need to complain.

Now, the majority of the people ask, “How is it going?” In all honesty, it is going great. It is much easier than I ever anticipated. Honestly. The main difference is an added 2-3 loads of laundry a week. Not bad at all. And the cloth diapers are so much cuter than the disposables I will have to say. :)

So, I am going to try and make this as organized as I can. TRY being the key word.

Here we go. This is the cloth diapering system we use at the Norris house. Prefolds, covers & pockets.

In my stash at the moment I have:
24 Prefolds (maybe a few more???)
8 Covers (of various sizes)
6 One-Size BumGenius pockets
6 Perfect Size Fuzzibunz.

My faves….HANDS down the Fuzzibunz. However, some people cannot stand Fuzzibunz. It takes every kind of people….to make the world go ‘round.

Prefolds & Covers

Let me say that I was so intimidated by this system when I was first getting started that I almost didn’t try it. I thought it was too ‘old school’ and since there were other easier ways, why should I bother. Let me say I have eaten every word. I love prefolds and covers. This is what we use when we are at home. Here is a breakdown. The prefold

is a cotton/muslin type material that gets more and more absorbent the more you wash it. Crazy, right? Like when you buy prefolds – you need to prep them (wash them) like 6-7 times before baby wears so that you can increase the absorbency. This part of the diaper is NOT waterproof. Hence, why you need the cover. Now, there are many, many different ways to use prefolds in your cover – but I will show you my fave way. The angel fold. You fold the prefold into thirds

and then fan out the top edges and place in your cover.

You now have an angel wing fold. You place baby in the diaper and pull the prefold around to the front and fan out the edges here as well.

This creates a nice little gusset at the base of the leg to hopefully hold in any blowouts that may occur.

You then bring around the cover and Velcro it together. Word of wisdom – in the cloth diapering world, Velcro is called Aplix.

The skinny on prefolds & covers – this is probably the cheapest way to cloth diaper. Prefolds will run you about $1-3 dollars a piece (you can get bleached or unbleached, and the Indian prefolds are my faves) and a cover is usually no more than $15, depending on the brand. My favorite cover is a Thirstie. It has leg gussets that really, really, really contain any sort of pooey blow-out that could ever come up. You don’t need as many covers as prefolds as you can use the same cover all day - UNLESS there is a super-duper bad poopy that just cannot be wiped out of the waterproof inner of the cover. But, all day what I do is just replace the prefold and keep the cover.

Pocket Dipes

As I said earlier – I have 2 brands of pockets. Fuzzibunz perfect size and BumGenius 4.0 one-size.

The main difference in the 2 above are the closings (one is snaps and the other is Aplix, this is just a matter of preference…but Fuzzibunz only makes snaps – I haven’t found I have a preference yet on the snaps vs. Aplix). The other, you may notice that the BumGenius Aplix (on the right) also has snaps. This is because it is a one-size diaper. Meaning it will fit your baby from birth to potty training. Now, here again is preference. You can either buy all one-size dipes and then have them the entire time, or you can buy the sized dipes and just get new ones when your baby needs a larger size up. Personally…I have found that I think my problem with the BumGenius (mind you, this is a GREAT diaper and I use it all the time, but I just don’t love it like I do the Fuzzibunz) is because it is one-size and you cannot get the leg opening any smaller for those little newborn legs. Make sense?? The one-size pockets are usually a few dollars more – but as I said…personal preference. I will more than likely keep all of my one-sized BumGenius and then when Nash outgrows his Small Fuzzibunz, I will buy 6 more Mediums.

Okay, why is it a pocket? The anatomy of this diaper is a waterproof outer layer (just like a cover) that has an inner layer of a soft microfleece that will wick away moisture.

What the heck does that mean? Basically, it draws the moisture away from the baby and into the insert. Like, when I take off one of Nash’s pocket dipes, I wouldn’t know it was wet until I pull out the insert. What is the insert? Well, see how between the inner and outer layer there is a ‘pocket?’

This is where the insert goes. The insert comes with the diaper and is something that you have to ‘prep’ as well when you first get to increase the absorbency. You place the insert in the pocket, and I remove it when I take off the diaper and wash it separately and then replace after laundering.

The skinny on pockets. They are SO incredibly easy it is almost silly. These are close to a disposable in that there is no folding of a prefold or anything, just put on the baby and snap/Velcro and voila. This are the diapers that I use on the go. Reason being – you just take them off, fold them up and put them in your wet bag (details on this later). They are more expensive than your covers and prefolds – but obviously you are paying for convenience and quality. Fuzzibunz usually run around $18-21 a piece and BumGenius are right around there as well.

As for things you must have if cloth diapering – you need a wet bag for your diaper bag and a pail liner.

Wet bag for diaper bag. This one is mine.

Look at that Joel Dewberry gorgeousness. (PS - Summer Turner and Katie Puckett...look closely at Sambo and you can see our convos, hehe) I got mine from an Etsy seller called Monkey Foot Designs. I love this bag. This bag is lined with a waterproof material and has a zipper so that when you are out and have a diaper change, you just put the diaper in the bag, zip it up and take it home to put in your big wet bag…aka your pail liner.

What I did is buy a trash can at Big Lots and then got a Planet Wise pail liner. It is a waterproof bag that fits into a trash can and anytime I take dipes off of baby, they go in here. When I am ready to do a load of diaper laundry, I grab the bag out of the trash can and take it all to the washing machine. You can wash your pail liner with your dipes. I suggest having 2 pail liners so that you will have one to put in the trash can to line while your other is in the wash. I haven’t gotten a second yet…but soooo need to!

For wipes – I confess…I am still using regular disposable wipes only because I haven’t take the time in my sewing room to cut out my wipes. You can use regular wash cloths, old pieces of t-shirts cut up, etc. I just happened to have a piece of fabric that I want to cut up and serge to make wipes and haven’t gotten there yet. But you can buy a solution to soak the wipes in, or just make it yourself. This is what I have done…but just don’t have the wipes in it yet. Whoops. The solution I use is ½ cup baby oil, ½ cup baby wash and 2 cups of water. I am looking for some lavender oil to put a smidge in there for yummy booty-smell. :) With cloth wipes, just throw them in the laundry with your dipes and you are good to go.

Now the question that I know is brewing in MOST people’s minds by now, since I always get asked this question. What do you do with the poop?

Well, it really isn’t that much of a deal. I am fortunate in that most of Nash’s poops are fairly solid. So, I grab them with a wipe and put them in the trash. Every now and then when he has a bad one or a loose one, I will go to the toilet and swish the dipe around in there to loosen up most of the poo. Then, I put the diaper in the pail liner to be washed later. NOT a big deal. Promise. It isn’t nasty and it doesn’t gross me out, but then again…to each their own. I always have people ask if I have had a diaper yet that was so bad I just wanted to throw it out…not yet, and I probably wont. Those dipes are too expensive to just part with. :)

Laundering. Once again, not a huge task. Actually, the dipes are the only laundry that I don’t mind doing. Haha. I do dipe laundry about every 2-3 days. I usually will do a rinse in cold water, then add a smidgen of detergent (I use All Free & Clear…you HAVE to make sure to use a detergent free of smells, additives, etc and dryer sheets and fabric softener are a big fat NO-NO with cloth dipes) and wash in hot. Then, the only part that I will put in the dryer are my prefolds and inserts. All of my pockets and covers I hang to dry. Again, a personal preference…it just prolongs the life of your dipe. When it is sunny outside, I hang them all (inserts, prefolds, covers and pockets) in the sun. Want to know a magic trick?? The sunshine will bleach out any poo stain. NOT kidding. My dipes look brand new when they come in from a sunning. Brand new.

Okay, I think I may have covered all of my bases...but since my lovely computer just decided to take away my word document that was already 3 pages on this subject and I wasn't finished (seriously...where did it go??) I think I need to step away from the computer before I hurl it out the window. One thing I will mention, my fave place to buy dipes is at the BumRite Diaper company. The thing I love the most about this place is the customer service. When I call, I always, and I mean always get someone. The one time I didn't, I was called back within an hour. And, shipping is so quick. I always have my dipes within a few days. :)

I hope this helps to answer some questions or clear up any misconceptions about cloth diapering. If this is something you are thinking about doing, please don't hesitate to email with any questions at amysnorris (at) hotmail (dot) com. I know that I couldn't have done it without the input of my cloth diapering friends in the beginning! It may not be for everyone, but isn't bad! And there isn't much that is cuter than a big-ole cloth diapered booty!!!

Now, just to summarize with the sweetness asleep with his zeebs. So stinking cute.

And, another Norris that hasn't gotten enough face-time lately. :) This is the little striped kitty hiding in the bathroom. Wonder who she is hiding from. Hmmmm...

Any questions? :)


angelina_lover said...

Awesome!!! We too are a cloth diapering family and your post is so well put. I couldn't explain it better if I tried lol. I am a huge fan of that fabric too.

lnichols said...

wow. i am impressed. Big undertaking. Looks like you did your homework :)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the info!! I was totally clueless. I am gonna refer alot of friends to this!

The Treadwells said...

FYI. my girlfriend places a piece of fleece cut in a rectangle ( about the length of the diaper) that will take on the poop that way it isnt going on the diaper everytime and then she just washes them with her diaper laundry and reuses the strips :}