Monday, August 17, 2015

Cloth Diapering

Leah and a friend from up the street are playing Battleship in the library, Becca is in the kitchen playing Rhyme Out with her sister Natalie, who is confidently mixing up Blueberry Banana Bread, the baby is smiling and grabbing for things, and I am folding cloth diapers warm from the sunshine.

I am so happy to be able to say that we are exclusively cloth diapering!!!

We bought a bunch of different brands, some new and some used, and slowly discovered what works best for us. This seems to always be what families do, as each child is a different shape. What we ended up with?

Pocket Diapers: Least favorite.
I dislike pocket diapers because I think it's yucky to have to reach into the pocket to pull a dirty diaper out. I thought they would work great for overnight because you could put two inserts in, and you can, but they are incredibly bulky and look just plain uncomfortable to wear.

All in One Diapers: Favorite, but expensive.
I do like the all-in-one diapers. They are great for night time, when it's dark, and trips out of the house, since they are the simplest in nature. SmartBottoms are incredible! They are magnificent quality diapers but pricey so we only have two at this point. They do go up to potty training size so they are well worth the investment.

Prefold Diapers/Waterproof Shells: Budget friendly, and the way to go!
My favorite solution on a budget is to have the cheap Gerber cloth diapers and some wipe-clean waterproof covers in cute fabrics. The Gerber pre fold diapers are at Walmart or Target, and we can use them for dusting & cleaning cloths in the future when no baby is using them. The snap-shut resizable waterproof covers are easy to put over the diaper. They can simply be wiped clean and reused for diapers that are just wet, and washed for diapers that are dirty and they dry on the line in a FLASH. They are also not very expensive! (Not as cheap as the Gerber plastic diaper covers but I bought those and they are incredibly thin and don't fit AT ALL so I would never recommend them in any way to anyone for any purpose.) I have one GrowVia Kiwi Pie wool diaper cover but it's a medium and he doesn't fit into it yet, so I can't yet give a recommendation.

Sizes: I recommend Thirsties duo wraps, which come in two sizes. The smallest size, size 1, goes from 6 to 18 lbs, so you can use them from newborn. I have only a day's worth and I wash diapers every morning. Some people get two day's worth. While your baby is growing, you can save up and get the covers for the second size of Thirsties, or get Rumparooz covers which are one size and also will go until potty training. The only reason why I don't like Rumparooz for the entirety of child diapering is that they don't get small enough for my liking (and/or my baby has thinner legs) and they leak when the baby is still small.

We have a fabric laundry hamper for the baby and it sits right by the changing table. It has a metal stand with handles. The laundry bag itself is washable, should there be a huge blowout. I have two cotton/hemp reusable grocery shopping bags from Reusable Bags and I use one each day. They have both short handles and long handles. I loop the short handle over the handle of the laundry hamper and it sits INSIDE the laundry bag but is separate from the clothing. Each morning, first thing, I take the hemp bag full of diapers and covers and put the diapers, covers, and the bag into the wash. I wash them with a bag full of soap nuts and a scoop of Borax, in hot water. You cannot use laundry detergent with additives, fabric softener, or diaper cream with cloth diapers. It ruins them. I got some used from a woman who used fabric softener and I can tell you for a fact that the nice quality Rumparooz diapers were ruined and no longer waterproof. Yikes! I set the washer for a Large load every time, so that there is plenty of water for them to swish around in. Neither soaking nor second rinse are necessary. I then hang them out on the line to dry. I take the second hemp bag and loop it around the handle of the laundry bag and there it sits, ready for the diapers of the day.

This system has worked GREAT for me. I only own 10 Gerber pre fold cloth diapers. I have two all-in-one SmartBottoms Diapers. And I have 8 shells, but I've accumulated these over time. I used to use mostly paper and just our few cloth diapers over and over; before I knew it, I was exclusively cloth diapering! We only ended up using two boxes of paper diapers.

Smart Bottoms Smart 3.1 OS Organic All-in-One Cloth Diaper (Tie Dye)

Gerber Prefold Premium 6-Ply Cloth Diapers, 5-Pack

GroVia Kiwi Pie Wool Cover - Medium

Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap, Size One (Blackbird)

Rumparooz One Size Cloth Diaper Cover Snap (Quinn)

NaturOli Organic Soap Nuts / Soap Berries BULK & PIECES - TWO POUNDS - Seedless USDA Certified - Fresh Wild Harvest - Hypoallergenic, Non-toxic

As far as I'm concerned Battleship and Rhyme Out are both educational games. At one time when I was teaching, and we used color coded daily school planning, I had a color for "Educational Games" but now I think the children should write them in their plan books under the subject that they practice when they play the game. Battleship is math (coordinate graphing) and Rhyme Out is language (vocabulary). Tomorrow morning, our first day of school, the children and I will go through our games closet and review which games we want to count as educational and which colors they would be in the plan. I do allow people to put multiple dots by a work choice, and it can be an interesting conversation as to what school subjects an activity includes. Natalie could put her Blueberry Banana Bread recipe down as purple - Home Economics (cooking) or blue - Math (measurement) or both. If it had an ingredient from our garden, she could put another colored dot for green - Science (gardening).

November 2, 2016

    I want to update my recommendations for cloth diapering, now that Zac is 17 months old!

    Well, in a way I'm updating it but in a way I'm keeping it the same. I now exclusively use Thirsties Duo-Wrap (in size two, 18-40 lbs).

    We did indeed save up and slowly accumulate a collection of Smartbottoms AIO cloth diapers. We also had the pocket diapers with two liners for overnight use (I found SunBaby was the absolute best at being leak-free) even though pocket diapers are totally gross to use, just as I thought they would be.

    And I was thrilled to be cloth diapering and saving tons of money!

    HOWEVER, in March of this year my baby started to have the most horrible diaper rash of all time. The skin peeled off his little penis and he had open oozing sores and it swelled up to twice its size. I thought at first it was yeast, and we tried 1 cup coconut oil with a few drops of tea tree oil in it. When I put him in paper diapers to help the area stay clean and dry, the rash went away. Every time we put him back in cloth it reappeared immediately, he was screaming in pain, and the diapers reeked of ammonia. Finally I figured out the problem.

    We had ammonia build-up in our diapers. This happened because Zac got older, not because I did anything wrong. However, because you have to use additive free detergents with your cloth diapers, like soapnuts, the gentleness factor of an eco-friendly detergent becomes part of the problem. When I researched how to strip them, I came up with a ton of conflicting information, but finally whittled it down to the following procedure, which involved washing them four times.

      wash in hot water, adding a few drops Dawn original blue detergent, 1/2 cup washing soda, and an extra teakettle full of boiling water

      repeat above step

      wash in hot water, adding 1/2 cup lemon juice and an extra teakettle full of boiling water

      fill washing machine with hot water, add 1 cup white vinegar, let soal overnight, then run complete cycle

      let dry in the sunshine

    Ok, so this worked except that after doing it a few times the waterproof outer lining on my all-in-one diapers was stripped and no longer waterproof. Hundreds of dollars worth of diapers wasted.

    I realized that the only way to deal with this was to bleach my inserts. So I did. Now Zac is completely comfortable in his cloth diapers again. We've stopped using anything except the Thirsties Duo-Wrap covers over inserts. I can bleach the inserts whenever I need to without fear of harming the waterproof-ness of the covers. I can wash the outer waterproof covers in with his other clothes. They are lightweight and dry in a flash on the clothesline. They are super-quick and easy to use and, since they aren't lined with terry cloth, as pocket diaper covers are, I can reuse them immediately if he has only peed in a diaper. Just wipe them down and put in a fresh dry liner. Easy.

    I hope this helps anyone out there who is thinking of cloth diapers. And please do not hesitate to type questions into the comment box and I'll respond.

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