Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cloth Diapering... Ten Months In.

Here's my original post on our whole cloth diapering routine. In honor of Melinda (just had her first babe) and Melissa (expecting baby #4) who are both beginning and/or thinking of trying all of this out, it led me to realize that I needed to update my post as some things have changed. Some are significant, some not so much, but thought I would share everything that changed since November when I first listed out our routine.

Change #1: I don't like velcro diapers and wouldn't buy them again.
We have BumGenius 4.0s in velcro and snaps. Velcro was my favorite at first - particuarly for middle-of-the-night changings. Honestly, if I were to do it all over again, I'd probably just put baby down to sleep in a snap and then change her into a disposable if I needed to change her in the middle of the night. It is much easier to put on a diaper with velcro rather than messing with snaps. However, now that we aren't changing diapers in the middle of the night anymore and a significant amount of time and washings have occurred, the velcro is no longer as necessary, nor is it in the best condition. Our liners are always line dryed so it isn't the dryer that has ruined them, they just don't stick as well. Even the laundry tabs have softened up and don't have that same "sticking" quality. I also cannot leave Elyse in a velcro without pants. She loves to rip them off. I have a feeling I will eventually transition out of the velcros and set them aside and either make do with less diapers or buy more snap versions. They have conversion kits, but that honestly sounds like more trouble than it is worth!

Change #2: I do remove inserts before laundering.
I didn't want to mess with this at first. Now, it is totally worth it. All inserts are removed and velcro tabs stuck to the laundry tabs. It is a step that helps get the diapers cleaner - as the inserts don't always come out on their own in the wash. Totally worth the step.

Change #3: We add a wet towel to the washing machine.
This was a tip from our favorite store and resource for all things cloth diapering - Simple Cloth. We have a front loader and in order to trick the machine into using more water, we add a sopping wet towel to the wash. It helps get them cleaner and ensures that you don't get residue. My routine is to take out the washable wet bag of diapers. I open the cupboard and pull out the towel I always wash the diapers with along with the second (clean) wet bag. I put the new wet bag/liner in the pail and we are ready to head to the washing machine! I put the bag up to the machine, pull back the top and push from the bottom so all of the soiled diapers go straight into the machine. I don't even have to touch any diapers. The towel is thrown in the laundry sink over running water and when appropriately soaked, I add it to the machine. I add my 1/3 c of Country Save and get it running!

Change #3: We wash diapers less frequently.
We wash diapers two times a week - they sit no more than three days. Bill and I normally take turns, so each of us is only washing the diapers/putting them away once a week.

Change #4: We are pretty strict about what we put into the dryer.
We always line dry diaper covers and the all-in-one, one-size BumGenius Organics. Into the dryer goes fleece liners, inserts, towel, wipes (washcloths) and the wet bag/liner(s).

Change #5: I went back to work, so we have a new routine for when she isn't with us.
We pack six diapers into the diaper bag for the day. We send along a wetbag. When that comes home, we empty the soiled diapers into the diaper pail and hang the wetbag to dry out (we have two so we rotate for washing). One Grandma uses cloth wipes so we pack those and the other uses baby wipes.

Change #6: We did install a clothes line above the washer and dryer. On any given day, you will likely see a string of diapers drying. This worked much better than our previous method of drying on a rack in the spare room. Diapers are either drying on this line or outside if it happens to be a pretty day.

Change #7: We purchased a hemp insert for night-time. At first, I thought our night-time leaks were a problem with our inserts, so we purchased an insert made of hemp which is super absorbent. We later found out most of our leak problems were do to the diaper itself (see below warning for not purchasing used diapers). We double up and make sure the microfiber insert is on top and the hemp is on bottom. We are having leaks once and a while again at night, so I think it is time to buy a bigger hemp insert now that we are on the largest snap of the Bum Genius.

Lessons Learned and Other Stuff:

Careful when stuffing diapers. You have to make sure the insert doesn't bunch when stuffing, or it will leak. I often check this before putting the diaper on to be safe.

Also, be careful when you put the diaper on. You have to make sure all of the inside/absorbent parts of the diaper aren't sticking out. Sometimes the cotton on the organic all-in-ones is poking out or the back part is folded. A quick check of the waist and legs and a quick tuck-in is all that is needed to prevent most leaks.

Sometimes diapers leak no matter what. We have a little one who likes to hold it sometimes, so when she finally goes we often leak due to the volume - whether she's in a cloth or disposable.

Speaking of leaking, if you are going to deal with a big poo, pray they are in cloth! The messiest explosions I've ever dealt with were when we were out-and-about and Elyse was in a disposable diaper. The BumGenius have that good elastic around the waist that is good for containing things, if you will. I remember two distinctive times being in a public restroom with poo everywhere. A thousand wipes later and a fresh change of clothes, we got it cleaned up, but boy is that not fun! It is funny to me the people that won't consider cloth diapering because they are worried about the poo. Well, I don't like it either. But, I much prefer it in the diaper than all over my baby, her clothes, surroundings and ME!

Don't buy used diapers. I bought some on E-bay and they leaked at the legs. Waste of money. I didn't save a thing.

You do have to change them more often. Usually if she has leaked, it is our fault. We didn't realize how much time had passed since the last diaper change. Yet, sometimes she leaks and I have no idea why.

We haven't had staining issues. There is so much on-line about removing stains by drying in the sun. We haven't had that problem, which is a good thing because we don't get a ton of drying-in-the-sun days here.

The stinky part isn't from what you think. If you are worried about a stinky diaper pail - worry more about the ammonia smell than anything else. The other soiled diapers are sprayed off, so besides that initial P.U. you don't smell the dreaded "poo" after that. There is a strong ammonia smell from the soiled diapers come laundry day. However, it stays pretty contained in the pail and we keep an air freshener nearby. I do smell ammonia when they are first washing in the machine, so I usually plug in an airfreshener or something in the laundry room.

No problems with residue. We haven't had any issues (so far) with soap residue, so we haven't had to strip diapers yet. I've also read how some can get a buildup of urine residue from not enough soap. Haven't had that problem either.

Cloth diapers do give them a "puffier" bum. I actually think it is cute and sweet to pat, but I get that sometimes it doesn't work. Take note when buying fitted leggings or jeans. Some of Elyse's jeans fit much better with a disposable given the added bulk of a cloth diaper.

I still love cloth wipes (or washcloths) the best. We almost never use disposable wipes at home. As a matter of fact, if you're looking for them here, you'll have to dig. We use the cloth wipes for diaper changes fresh from her warmer. In the kitchen, we use traditional washcloths and towels for cleanup. They work better and there's nothing to toss in the garbage. (Now, on-the-go we go through a TON, don't get me wrong).

We needed (or maybe it is wanted) more diapers. We have about 30 diapers. I'm not sure of the actual number, but I am amazed people get by with only a dozen. I'd go crazy doing laundry that often. This amount works well for us, although to others it might seem excessive. I'd recommended starting with a smaller number, you can always slowly buy more as you need them. Plus, it doesn't seem as expensive that way.


We still enjoy doing it. It is still not a big deal. We had a couple of extended trips lately and as I packed that huge sleeve of disposable diapers, I will tell you it gives me great satisfaction in our choice. I still have no qualms about using disposables on-the-go, but what we use in comparison to most and what we have saved financially is huge. It is completely a personal choice, but for us we are still really happy about it. Plus, they are so cute. Are they not? Look at that baby!

Questions? Happy to help if we can!


Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you posted an update about your CD experience! I'm always curious about how others are fairing in their CD experience.

My daughter is about 6 weeks younger than E, and we've been CDing since January (it took FOREVER for our organic Softbums to come in!) about 6 months now. I agree that it is just no big deal to CD. I worried for so long about getting "the stinkies" or amonia burns from our wash cycle...but, like you, we've never had ANY problems. We even bought an HE washer recently, and I was concerned about the amount of water it used...again, no problems!

Unlike yourself, we primarily have velcro with just a few snaps in the bunch. I HATE the snaps, and can never seem to get a good fit. We use Softbums 99% of the time during the day (with an odd GroVia thrown in on rare occasions) and Flips for night. Honestly, I'm not sure why we started using the Flips at night (instead of the SBs), but it works for us.

My mom will use cloth when she keeps B, but often uses disposables for ease (she works full time from home and my grandmother, who has Alzheimer's, lives with she is doing double diaper duty!) my MIL wouldn't even consider using cloth.

I had all intentions of using cloth wipes (and I do use them for washcloths!). We bought them and a warmer, but we end up changing the most diapers downstairs and we set up the cloth wipes/warmer it just never became part of our routine. (Maybe I'll make that my goal for the week!)

My only complaint is about the fluffy bum..I don't mind how it looks at all...but, it does make clothing a bit of a challenge for us. My daughter is very long waisted and "thick," not fat. Add the bulk of the cloth diaper, and we have to size up at two sizes if not more. Unfortuntely, that means that it ends up with an odd fit in her neck/shoulder area, and long pants have to be rolled up several times!

I have really enjoyed watching E grow up on your blog. Since she is about 1 1/2 months older than B, it always gives me insight into what I can usually expect in the coming weeks.

Thank you for hostessing a fantastic blog!


Courtney said...

Thanks, Jessica! I love hearing from other Moms too! I think it is so interesting how everything is different for each of us. I guess that is why you have to keep trying new things - new diapers, new routines, etc.

I agree with the big "bum" issue. I'm sure one day they'll figure out how to make slimmer cloth diapers. Wouldn't that be nice?

Thanks again for the nice feedback! It means LOT!!

- Courtney

Missinstall76 said...

Your post is very helpful. I'm pregnant with my second child and will be cloth diapering for the first time. I am also looking at using a clothesline. Can you tell me which brand you purchased? I'm looking at a few on Amazon and can't decipher which one will work best. Thanks!

Courtney said...

MissInstall76 - so sorry I couldn't find a way to respond to you directly. We purchased a retractable clothesline from Amazon too. No kidding, after the first day the fabric line snapped and broke due to the weight of the wet diapers! My husband restrung a metal wire. It doesn't retract, but hangs down on the side of the dryer when not in use. It is much sturdier. I'd recommend something super sturdy or be prepared to get creative like we did. :-)


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