Many of you have been asking how cloth diapering has been going for us. I'll warn you in advance this is a long post and may be boring to some, so feel free to bypass.
Let me begin with a caveat. Some of my most consistent advice for new Moms is to not try to learn everything at once. I remember that first week feeling utterly overwhelmed - not so much with my baby, but with learning all the contraptions, gear, nursing... this on top of feeling poorly and having lots of visitors. I knew the items would be helpful, but it felt like a lot to learn it and get used to. The best thing I did was LET IT GO. I decided to master one thing at a time and stick with whatever was easiest to begin with. Foremost, came time with my new baby and then I could learn how to use all the stuff that comes with having a baby. This lesson helps explain my experience with cloth diapering. I posted back in May about our reasoning behind choosing cloth diapering. I said back then there were no guarantees this would work for us. I'm pleased to say it IS working for us, but we do have some lessons learned. Please note, this is just my opinion and experience. This advice is not for everyone.
DISPOSABLES TO START. We used disposables exclusively for the first two-three weeks. GOOD CHOICE.
Particularly due to the meconium (AKA newborn tar poo), I advise sticking with disposables. I also recommend it because you will get diapers as a gift, will be sent home with some from the hospital, plus this it is just easiest. You don't want to have to worry about the extra laundry and getting used to the cloth diaper routine when focusing on healing and bonding with your new little one. Use the disposables until you have some time under your belt and are ready to take on something new.
KISSALUVS. I bought and received as gifts twelve Kissaluv Size 0 diapers and six Thirsties covers to use while Elyse was a newborn. MISTAKE.
This is something I wouldn't do again. These are diapers you can't use for very long. They are cotton and very absorbent, but Elyse would fuss as soon as she felt she was wet and we were constantly changing diapers. We used disposables at night and used the Kissaluvs during the day, but soon she was big enough to try out the BumGenius (more to come on those).
As I mentioned earlier, Simple Cloth has been a great resource for me. I love this store and they have been so helpful! The store owner did advise that we try fleece liners and it would have solved the constant changing problem (it helps wick away the moisture). Good to know, however, I had already taken care of the issue. I am happy to say that cloth diapers are easy to re-sell. I had already sold the diapers and used the money toward purchasing more BumGenius.
PRE-FOLDS. Choosing pre-fold diapers to use with Thirsties covers. MISTAKE.
Not that there is anything wrong with pre-folds. However, I am learning cloth diapering along with my husband and we needed something easy to get used to. The BumGenius are just so much easier. I still have the pre-folds in the closet. Maybe we will use them someday, re-sell them or use them as burp rags.
ALL-IN-ONE / ONE SIZE BUMGENIUS.
Choosing an all-in-one diaper, BumGenius. GOOD CHOICE.
I love, love these. First, they are cute. They come in fun colors. I have BumGenius 3.0, BumGenius 4.0, and BumGenius Organic. The 3.0 and 4.0 are pocket diapers where you have to stuff an insert into it before use. The organic are completely all-in-one, however, we use a fleece liners as I'll describe later. We have the 3.0 and 4.0 in both snaps and velcro and the organic are all snaps. See the second row that is snapped together? It is on the smallest size - these diapers will grow with her. She can use them until she is potty trained! Very cool.
VELCRO. The velcro are the BEST for nighttime. At night, I recommend a gown and warm zip sleepsack or swaddler for easy and quick changing in dim light. We double up the inserts in the velcro diapers and they are just as absorbent and easy to put on as any disposable. The velcro does do a "chain" in the laundry if you don't fasten the laundry tabs to prevent this. This does add an extra step in the laundry process. You do have to either remove the insert before laundering (yuck, I don't do this) or, make sure to pull them out before line drying or putting into the dryer.
SNAP. We have one FuzziBunz with snaps that Bill doesn't like. The snaps are a little trickier, so he always bypasses that diaper. He doesn't mind the BumGenius varieties. They are very intuitive. We like the 4.0 and the organic. For laundering, the organic ones are easiest because they have no inserts, however, they do take longer to dry. We did have some of the same issues with Elyse wanting to be changed more often in these because they are cotton. Simple Cloth recommended the fleece liners and this completely solved that problem. It is another step in changing the diaper, but not a big deal at all. It is a little bit of a pain stuffing the inserts into the 3.0 and 4.0 before using, but I have gotten the hang of it and it is not too big of a deal. Plus, the ones with inserts don't need a fleece liner - so it is kind of a wash.
We purchased a diaper sprayer. GOOD CHOICE.
This was a well-spent $40.00. They say when you are exclusively breastfeeding you don't have to spray the poo. However, even when I was doing this, we sprayed our diapers. Frankly, it just seems a little yucky to me to put a poopy diaper in the wash, plus I think it helps eliminate staining. Bill easily installed it and honestly, we both think it is pretty cool. You hold onto the top part of the diaper, lower the dipe into the bowl and spray away. It is not gross and no, you don't get poo on you. Just be careful not to turn the sprayer lever up too much (bottom lever in photo) or you'll get spray on your face - ewwww! It works great and so easy.
I've been talking about using this sprayer for a while, but funny how even people close to us forget. They either don't know what is for, think it is a bidet and specifically, one friend thought I got it for my postpartum discomfort (ha). Now when you come visit, you'll know what that sprayer is attached to our toilet! It does have other uses too - spraying off muddy shoes and the tubing does stretch into the tub so we could use it to spray off muddy Libby paws in the bathtub!
Regular diaper pail in the bathroom. GOOD CHOICE.
We have a regular garbage can with a lid in the bathroom. We use two washable Wahmies as diaper liners. One liner holds the current can o'diapers and the next clean one is there underneath. These are so cool. When time for laundry, you just pull out the bag of diapers, turn it inside out into the washer and it can go into the dryer too!
We use cloth wipes at home and disposables on-the-go. GOOD CHOICE.
We just transitioned to cloth wipes this week. This was on that list of things I just didn't have time to try out yet. I have to say, we are loving it! It is super easy. I purchased used washcloths on Ebay, stockpiling throughout my pregnancy. I fold the washcloths in half, roll them up, wet and wring out and spray with my own solution (2 c water, 2 T olive oil and 2 T baby wash). Place in the wipe warmer and you have a warm, wet, cloth to wipe up your babe.
It works MUCH better when cleaning a poo mess. Plus, you just throw it in the laundry with the cloth diaper so not a big deal at all. It is actually easier than keeping up with cloth diaper laundry in the pail plus an extra garbage sack for the disposable wipes. LOVE, LOVE this and Elyse does too!
NUMBER OF DIAPERS PURCHASED. Purchased 12 all-in-one diapers (BumGenius variety). MISTAKE.
We need more. I am working on purchasing more on E-bay as ideally, we will need 24 as right now I have to do laundry every day if we are at home. We use disposables on-the-run and when we are gone a lot, we do OK, but otherwise, it is a lot of laundry!
Laundry at home vs. service. GOOD CHOICE.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't! I'll do a post again once I'm back to work, but for now it is not so bad. We normally do a diaper-only load every other day. We toss the dipes and bag together into the wash. We use Country Save detergent (1/3 of a scoop) and wash on Warm, Heavy Duty, extra rinse. It is ideally recommended that you do a wash in Cold and then in Hot, but I've read about the warm/heavy duty option and so far it works for us. Once a month, we toss in some bleach to keep them fresh and clean. We generally line dry the liners and organic BumGenius and dry the diaper pail bag, all the liners and the washcloths (wipes). We do put the diapers in the dryer too, but line dry when we can (it can extend the life of the diapers). We do not use fabric softener. Bill is going to install a clothesline above the washer/dryer, which will be even better. Super easy, but again, we will see how we transition when we are back to work.
THE OFFICIAL WORD ON CLOTH DIAPERING.
Overall, we LOVE our cloth diapers and Elyse does too! We have Kirkland disposable diapers here for on-the-run, but exclusively cloth diaper at home. We are glad we made this choice for a variety of reasons! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!