cloth diapers

 {I will keep adding to this page and editing it to be a full resource of all things cloth right here in this one spot, as I can.....no jumping around to different posts.  So, if something is incomplete or blank, I'm working on it.  Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email me!}


There's some great resources online to learn about cloth diapers, but sometimes it helps to hear from a few different opinions and experiences.  So, I decided to share mine here.


GETTING STARTED:

Here's an article I wrote for a local magazine...

Turquoise, Lavender, Hot pink, brown, yellow, Lime green….these are not your grandma's diapers!  I can't lie.  The colors are what sucked me in.  Cloth diapers? That pretty?  The colors made me give it a second thought.
With my first child, I had only given the idea of cloth diapering a few minutes thought before I threw it out of my mind.  I didn't even know the options, and I didn't really care to find out. Three years later, pregnant with child number three, and after seeing those pretty diapers, I realized maybe I should check into this money and earth saving opportunity.

I was overwhelmed with the options!  From old fashioned, inexpensive prefolds and covers to middle of the line pocket diapers to more expensive All-in-One's, I did not know where to start! Researching and shopping online for cloth diapers can turn a mom off in a heartbeat. There was nowhere close for me to see diapers in person and figure out which I liked best.  So, I trusted the one recommendation of Fuzzibunz pocket diapers from the blogger where I had first seen them.  I also decided to give some other type diapers a try, too.

I ordered a whole array of different brands and styles. One reason I felt okay investing in so many up front was because I found an online community, diaperswappers.com (which also has great forums and resources), where you can sell preowned diapers for good prices.  I planned on returning or selling the ones I didn't want to keep. The thought of buying/selling used diapers did not appeal to any of my senses at first, but once I came to understand the whole concept of cloth, I got it.  I think I was so consumed with the experience of throwing away anything that had touched those bodily excretions, I just couldn't imagine anything different.  I obviously eventually got over that and surprisingly easily I must admit.

With good package deals, sales and freebies, I ended up being able to get even more than I intended through kellyscloset.com.  There are many online stores that offer rewards systems. Cottonbabies.com is another store I ordered from, and they now have many other baby items to shop for.

Finally, with almost enough new diapers to start my own store, I began trying out my new stash.  I had prefolds and covers, pocket diapers, and all-in-ones, and a couple of different brands of each.  Some were trim, and some were bulky. Some were skinny, and some were wide.  Some were minky soft, and some were only a little soft. Some were a little stretchy, and some were not. Some seemed to be good for trimmer babies and some seemed to be best for bigger babies.  They are all so different. (meaning that just because you may try one that doesn't seem best for your baby, try again!)

I came to understand that using cloth can really fit any budget if you are able to fork over the money up front.  You could buy a new set of cloth diapers within a range of $100-to $600 or so, depending on your budget and how much convenience you want. As crafty and thrifty as I like to think of myself being, I didn't even think about making diapers myself until I joined the local Starkville Cloth Diapering group (a fabulous resource!) on FaceBook. I still don't have time for that, but am impressed with how easily some of these other mommas whip up some home-made diapers! So by making them yourself, you could really save a ton!

The biggest fear many have, which I'm sure our ancestors would laugh at, is the poop. Of course, no one wants to deal with this, but there's actually some pretty good resources out there to calm your fears, including diaper sprayers, flushable diaper liners, and some other gadgets I've only heard of. The point is, it's not limited to the dunk and swirl methods anymore!

There are several pros and cons to cloth. Here's my own list:
pros: saves money, less nasty trash in our landfills, soft fabric against baby skin, fleece lining that wicks away moisture resulting in less diaper rash, most diapers are adjustible and will fit until potty training, and pretty!
cons: investment up front, can build up minerals causing ammonia smell if you don't do occasional "stripping" (deep cleanse basically), extra laundry, need to change diapers a bit more frequently, and night time absorbency can be a little tricky.

For me, the pros outweigh the cons, especially after a trip to the county dumpster while remodeling our home. The scene and smell were enough to make me never want to turn back to disposables (and recycle a LOT more)! Plus, I don't really mind the laundry because I easily think about all the money I'm saving, now with child #4, along with all the other pros.

My encouragement is to at least check it out and if you do decide to go green, find a resource that can give you all the tips and tricks. Find a helpful blog (liketheclothdiaperwhisperer.com) or friend that can share their personal routines with you to help you find your own groove. Many people do cloth different ways. Don't give up....it's really not bad! Some parents make the dive full force and do cloth only 24/7, while others may decide doing cloth half the time is enough for them. Others may start out small with only a few diapers for a trial run. Any or all would be better than none!


Random thoughts....
I used to think I only wanted a stash full of one type and/or brand of diaper - just to keep it simple and easy to keep organized.  However, I then realized that different type diapers are best for certain situations.  Some are good for me, while others are good for "helpers" to use.  For instance...I don't mind laying in inserts and prefolds into plain old covers each diaper change...or stuffing the pockets after washing a load.   Considering prefolds is the cheapest cloth system, I'm all for having a half day or day's worth of them and using them when I'm the one changing diapers..especially for newborns {see below}.  All in One's are nice for others who are changing their diapers and can treat it as a disposable....throw it into the laundry bag instead of the garbage can! no big deal. Pockets can be good for night time so you can adjust the absorbency and usually have good fittings in the legs for no leaks...unless you have the heavy wetter syndrome and then you might need some hybrid fitteds and wool!  This is my latest venture.
I finally realized it's the pocket system I'd like to keep to as few brands as possible so that I can quickly and easily stuff the inserts into the pockets without sorting and finding the right inserts for the right pockets. {some inserts are wider and some covers are more narrow, so it can get confusing if you don't know what goes where}

MUST HAVES AND OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES:
My Must-Haves:
~One to two days' worth of cloth diapers
~Large Diaper bag - large bag for dirty diapers...hang in a laundry bin or somewhere closed for no stink.
~Small diaper bags {2} - for dirty diapers on the go. they zip up the smell and can be tossed in with the laundry.
~Diaper safe laundry detergent
~Clothesline {this is a must have for lots of people, but it's not totally necessary.  Hang drying will extend the life of your diapers, will bleach out any stains in the sun, and will save you some money along the way.  I do a little bit of drying in the dryer sometimes in addition to hanging on the line...especially for the All in One's or those that take a little longer to dry.}
~Clothdiaper safe ointments and creams. currently loving some Grandma El's.


WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BUYING DIAPERS:
Shop with stores that have a reward system and that runs sales often.
Buy used diapers.  {sounds weird, but totally common and a great way to save!}
{Diaperswappers.com is a great source for buying used or trading}



HELPFUL RESOURCES and TIPS:
kellyscloset.com {visit the info pages about getting started}
For a poopy diaper, wipe their bottoms with toilet paper first and throw that in the toilet!

WASH ROUTINE:
My challenges with washings and my latest routine that works just fine...

"if it's truly a solid, I'll flip it out into the toilet."  {After some poopy frustrations, I heard someone say that once and I started following the same idea.}   If not, it will go into the diaper wet bag and get washed as soon as possible. {usually within the day or next day}
I basically follow this:
cold rinse
prewash with little detergent
hot wash on deep clean cycle {my washer has way too many "options." It's basically just a long wash}
cold rinse
{sometimes I add a water softener to my wash cycle for a little boost}

Stripping the diapers - if I notice any smell from mineral build-up, I'll do a stripping, which is basically a long soak in either detergent and a little booster detergent {like Rockin' Green Funk Rock or RLR}
This maybe happens once a month or two.  Line drying helps prevent this and I think it mainly happens in hard water.  You may not have this issue as much in soft water.


WHAT ABOUT THE POOP?!?!
Lots of options....
easy peasy to wash diapers before the baby is eating solids and can basically treat them as a wet only diaper

diaper sprayer ~ spray off into the toilet whatever you can.
flushable liners ~ flip out the poop with a liner {basically a thicker toilet paper}



FAVORITE BRANDS:

While I mostly love ONE SIZE pocket diapers {love Fuzzibunz} and All in One's {that fit from birth to potty training},
I love having a set of diapers just for the newborn phase.  Prefolds with an added layer of fleece for the top are great for newborns {first several months}.  small prefolds are not bulky. One size diapers can be  bulky on newborns and don't fit too well on those itty bitty booties during the first month or so....so sometimes a newborn stash is necessary. or free disposables as gifts work great, too!  This is the cheapest though if you want a newborn stash and it's pretty easy. {some cities have newborn rentals, but I have no idea about how cost effective that is since I've never tried it.}

Prefolds: {I lie a fleece insert on top that wicks away the moisture so they feel dry longer}


WIPES:




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