I fancy myself as being pretty “green.” We recycle all we can, just ordered a compost bin, and try to buy local when we can. When I found out I was pregnant I researched all of the chlorine free, natural, disposable diapers. But I couldn’t really find one that stuck out for me as being “the brand” we wanted. There are so many to choose from, and some were priced out of our range.
My first experience with cloth diapers was when I worked at a daycare for a few years during college, and during that time we had a few kiddos who used cloth diapers. They were always “all-in-ones”, and frankly, they stunk. I’m not saying they always stunk, but those parents probably could have done a better job washing their diapers. I’m by no means an expert on all things cloth, but the idea behind an all-in-one is just that: the liner, insert, and cover are all attached and are only used once before you wash them. The ones I have dealt with were pretty thick, and I suppose after time they can retain some odor. This pretty much turned me away from cloth diapering. I just didn’t think I could stand having my kiddo be stinky as soon as the diaper was just a little wet!
When filling out our baby gift registry through Target we added disposable diapers, but I also started looking a bit more into cloth diapers. A good friend of mine uses a diaper service that provides pre-folds, and they use the pre-folds with a fastener along with a cover to make it waterproof. I just couldn’t wrap my head around someone else making sure everything is clean enough, not to mention the fact that you are getting diapers back that other kids have used. I know, I know…they are clean. But still, it just wasn’t for us. After learning about this service, I decided to investigate other options for cloth diapers. I finally decided that I wanted to use inserts. Basically, there is a thin, waterproof cover along with a large cloth pad for an insert. The great thing about these is that unless the diaper is soiled, you can reuse the cover a few times before needing to wash it. This means you can get by with having just a few covers (and several inserts) and still not have to do diaper laundry each day!
The next step was to decide which brands I wanted to try! Target (in addition to MANY other places) has a lot of different types you can register for, so I knew I wanted to put the cloth diapers on the registry and hope to be lucky enough for someone to get us a few. I decided to go with Thirsties (size one) along with hemp inserts, and Flip diapers with the stay dry (microfiber) inserts. We also registered for the disposable Flip inserts for those times you want the convenience of disposable. So far the flips have been our favorite because they fit the best and are simple to use.
(Flip diaper with insert and waterproof cover)
Well, we were super lucky and received our cloth diapers as shower gifts! Jessa was a tiny peanut when she was born, so we ended up waiting until she was about 9 pounds before starting to use our cloth diapers to assure a good fit. The other thing that was interesting (and still healthy, according to her doctor) was that we had a baby who pooped very little her first eight weeks of life. Yes that’s right, once a week! Let me tell you, this makes cloth diapering VERY easy. I also found that the diaper liners you can purchase and wrap around the cloth pads are nice to use, as they make cleaning up a soiled diaper a lot easier. Liners basically look like dryer sheets, and while they are porous they block most of the “ick” from getting on the insert. You can flush or toss the liner.
When washing a poopy diaper we promptly do a rinse in the washer for the insert and cover. We have a great washing machine with lots of options, and a rinse uses very little water. It doesn’t completely clean the diaper, but it does a good enough job that we can wait a day or so to do a full load of diapers. I won’t go into great detail here, but diaper laundry for me involves an organic detergent, baking soda, vinegar, and an extra rinse cycle. (Sounds like it could be complicated, but it really isn’t).
I do have to make sure to say this…we don’t use cloth 100% of the time. Due to the fact that I can’t quite get over the idea of a poopy diaper sitting in a grocery bag for many hours at daycare, we have daycare use disposable diapers. She averages about 12 diapers a week there since she is only part-time, so I don’t feel TOO bad about it. Also, when we travel we take the flip covers with the disposable inserts or a pack of disposables. Just depends on if we have access to laundry for the covers. I think that doing cloth all of the time would be awesome, but for now our system works well for us.
Hopefully this gives a little insight on the fact that cloth diapering is actually quite easy. Plus, if you are like me, you may also get a bit of satisfaction out of working to get those stains out. 🙂 Right now there are few things better than getting a bunch of fresh, white cloth diaper inserts out of the dryer. I take that back. Nothing beats a happy baby in clean, eco-friendly diapers.
Do any of you mamas cloth diaper? If so, what brands are your favorite?