Monday, July 13, 2015

Cloth Diapering: Simplified

When I decided to cloth diaper I was intimidated. There are SO many different kinds out there. Prefolds, fitteds, wool, PUL, liners, covers, pockets, AIO, AI2- I mean seriously… Even when I googled these words to try to understand the secret society I was entering into I didn't get it. Like at all. As a whole I would say I'm a lot crunchier than I expected to be as a mom but I still consider myself pretty mainstream. I won't let her have anything but breast milk until she is 6 months old and will nurse her until she is 1 because that's what the WHO recommends, she won't be watching TV other than when she glances at it in a waiting room until she is 2 (here is a great TED talk on why), I wear my baby and have 2 different carriers for different purposes, am a member of baby wearing, vaccine, diapering, and breastfeeding Facebook groups, and I cloth diaper. But I also use a pacifier, realized I only ate chips for dinner yesterday so I'm not fooling myself that I'm making the highest quality of organic breast milk in the world, will let Lila look at my smart phone and use it around her, use disposables overnight, and I use simple cloth diapers. 

If you happen to be intimidated by the secret society and lingo of cloth diapering extremists this may be the post for you. Nobody is paying me to write it, so the brands I mention are simply the brands I use and love. Here we go…

I read this great post on my favorite, now retired, blog about their choice to cloth diaper. It was a great jumping off point for me and pointed me toward the popular brand BumGenius. I ended up settling on BumGenius Freetime diapers for a few reasons:
-They are an AIO (all-in-one) so I figured they would be the closest to disposables in ease of use. I had to sell anyone that would babysit Lila on using them, as well as Chris so I knew they had to be easy. So I knew an all in one was going to be the bulk of my stash. 
- They are easy to find. These are at Buy Buy Baby, Target, on Amazon, etc. so I knew I would be able to register for them. Side note- I discovered many people have a fear of them, and have no idea what a cloth diaper even is anymore. They also want to get a "fun" gift. Therefore, I got a total of 6 (3 from my mom) as gifts. So I guess ease of shopping depends on how bought into the system your family and friends are.
-Price/Quality. I could use a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon on these at Buy Buy Baby, or buy them slightly cheaper in some bundles on Amazon. I also read great reviews. I read that velcro wears out faster, which is why I chose snaps. They're not quite as fast to do when you have a squirmy baby but by the time she was squirmy we had these all figured out! I have heard that the elastic eventually wears out and can be replaced. I can sew and even if you can't there are tutorials on how to replace it by hand. 
-One sized. This one was big. I didn't know what size baby I was incubating and I knew I wanted the biggest bang for my buck. Here is the size chart:
As your baby grows you simply let out a row of snaps and the diaper grows. 5 months in and we are still on the first rise.

So I was sold. Here is one of my diapers just to show you specifics:
It's cute right? 

When you open it up it looks like it has wings. These are like this to make it super easy to wash and come clean. All of the pieces stay attached so there isn't any assembly required after you wash it. 
You simply lay them in there in a way that works for your baby. Here's how we operate:
 The lines make it easy to fold. If I had a heavy wetting boy for instance I would fold it like this to absorb more up front.
So after about 4 months of use (we didn't cloth diaper until she was closer to 9 lbs) I can say I LOVE these. They're super simple and everyone else has had an easy time using them. I have had 1 leak ever. Ask someone who has diapered for 5 months with disposables about leaks and they'll tell different story! 

I wasn't sure how many I would need. We started out with 15 and that worked really well. I stubbled upon a seconds sale on their website about a month ago and added 3 more to my collection. I also have tried a few other kinds to bulk up my collection. I want more than 1 kid and at this age I foresee having 2 in diapers. So I tried Flip diapers. They're made by the same manufacturer and look the same from the outside. 
I got 2. I then got 5 bamboo/microfiber inserts for inside of the covers. Bamboo can go right up against a baby's skin, where microfiber can't. It removes so much moisture that it'll wick too much moisture away from the baby's skin. I love these inserts because they're dark too which makes laundry easy. And they're trim so they work with tights and skinny jeans! I have two mictrofiber inserts that I can put under this if need be too. 
These have leaked twice on me which is still really minimal to me. They're nice because you can use the cover over and over again throughout a day and just "flip" the insert into the diaper pail. 
I also got 1 Econobum Cover (made by the same manufacturer but much cheaper in look and feel) and flat old fashioned diapers for inside (Sorry, no picture). I think they're too bulky until she sizes up to use them. I use the cover over her night disposable to keep any leaks at bay. 

So that's the diaper run down. In total I have 18 AIOs and 26 total diapers with inserts, covers, and AIOs (oh and 1 swim diaper). I still plan on using disposables with a newborn because they end up being changed so often, unless I run into a good deal. But, I should have enough to do two kids at once. Currently I do laundry every other day and that works out to 9-11 diapers, some wipes, and a wet bag. 

Now the accessories:
You aren't supposed to use diaper creams or anything with cloth diapers. Lila has never once had a diaper rash, but part of this is because of the diaper stick- I swear. This Grovia stick is safe for cloth diapers and great for diaper rashes or preventing them. Before we go a long stretch between changes (like overnight) I use a little and we are good to go!

I also use cloth wipes. I have some Cotton Babies wipes that are ok but my favorites are below. They're made from cut up receiving blankets from a garage sale. I love how soft they are. Pediatricians will tell you that using baby wipes aren't necessary most of the time, and plain water is best. I believe that. So when I need a wipe I grab it from the holder and give it a spray. Then I wrap the wipe up in the diaper and wash it all at once. Occasionally we will use a regular baby wipe or hand and face wipe. Those just go in the diaper pail too. After I've washed everything in the bag I just throw out the washed baby wipe. It works easier for me this way and I don't have to touch anything messy!

About laundry:
I have an old fashioned top loader that seems to do the job just fine. Originally I was using Sun & Earth Free & Clear after finding a great Subscribe and Save deal on Amazon. That was ok, but Tide Original Powder is awesome and her diapers actually smell heavenly. I take her wet bag out of her diaper pail, shake it into the washing machine and begin. Because Lila isn't on solid food yet I don't bother rinsing before putting in the pail or a first rinse cycle. I simply run a large cycle on cold, followed by one on hot and an extra rinse to be sure it's soap free at the end. Then I sun them if at all possible:
The sun bleaches these so nicely! I have 0 stains on these puppies so far. In a pinch I've thrown them in the dryer a couple of times but that wears out the PUL (waterproof fabric). I have a clothes line up in my basement utility room otherwise. So, that's my wash routine.

Now to storage:
This is Lila's diaper drawer today. I did laundry yesterday morning, so this is how many diapers I have left one day in. Here's what you're looking at from left to right:
-Old fashioned diapers, microfiber inserts, bamboo inserts, Honest Co. overnight diapers.
-AIO Diapers and grey and blue Flip covers
-Wet bags, hand and face wipes, and real baby wipes.
 Cloth wipes:

 See this is an example of me being crunchy but not. I use Johnson's lotions and washes. I know they have carcinogens in them according to articles I've read. But Lila's not drinking it and we aren't coating her whole body in it. She loves having her feet rubbed and I do it every night before bed. And it just plain smells good! I also have a toy to give her when she is flipping and spinning while I try to change her, grooming stuff, a water spray bottle, and the diaper stick. 
So that's how I cloth diaper! It's been much easier than I expected and saved us a ton of money. They also are a great accessory to outfits! I'll wrap up this post with proof of their (and my baby's) cuteness!

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