Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

If someone had told me three years ago that I would be diapering my son with cloth I would have laughed.  I mean it's:

  1. Gross
  2. Hippy-fied
  3. and WAY too much work
Turns out, none are true.  

I love using cloth diapers.  It's really satisfying to know that I'm reusing the diaper instead of just tossing it in the trash and filling up a landfill.  Also, the little one gets virtually no diaper rash.  Ever.  Especially since I switched to using cloth wipes as well.

It took D and I a little while to get used to putting on a cloth diaper but now we can put one on nearly as quick as a disposable.

Cloth diapers are not gross.  Besides, once you have a kid, the notion of "gross" kind of disappears. They really don't stink much in the pail.  The only time smell really enters the picture is when you dump them in the washer but it's over quickly. 

I found out lots of normal folks, not just hippies, use cloth diapers.  Many moms of babies with sensitive skin switch to cloth.  A baby with a sore, cracked bum breaks your heart and for many, cloth is the answer. Fewer chemicals and irritants come into contact with your baby's skin.  Plus, because the baby feels wetter sooner, you are apt to change him more often.

 As for the work?  I just pop them in the washer every other day and do a rinse, hot detergent wash, then another rinse.  I follow it up by drying them outside or in the dryer on low.  Couldn't be easier.  Plus - a load of fresh, clean diapers is a wonderful sight.  They feel great, smell great, and make you feel like you've accomplished something.

We decided to use prefolds.  Prefolds are one step away from the huge pieces of cloth that our grandmothers used.  They had to fold the diapers many times and in creative ways to get them to fit their baby.  Prefolds are simply thick layers of birdseye cotton serged at the edges.  When you first get new prefolds they are very smooth and non-absorbent.  Before you use them you have to wash them 6-8 times to get them soft and absorbent.  They shrink, wrinkle and become incredibly soft.  You can kind of see that below:

New prefold on bottom 
with a washed prefold on top.

So how to we get these diapers on the kiddo?  There are a million different ways.  We use the flying angel wing fold.  If you're interested ion different methods, try this link: Green Mountain Diapers - How To

Here's how we do it:

Bum with just a cloth prefold and Snappi closure

Now for the cover.  All cloth diapers require a cover so things don't get wet.  Some expensive diapers have the cover sewn on but we went with the most economical method.  We use Thirsties Duo brand covers.  The covers fit from 18-40 lbs and can be adjusted with the snaps you see.  They have gussets in the leg opening and I've never had a leak with cover on correctly.

Diaper cover by itself                                                                                

Bum with diaper and diaper cover

When you're finished, just toss the soiled diaper and cloth wipes in the diaper pail.

Our set up. Diaper pail on left, trash can, and changing table.

It couldn't be easier.  Overall, changing cloth diapers takes a little bit longer but it's also a fun time to interact with the kiddo.  I blow raspberries on his tummy, play peekaboo, tickle his cheeks.  He loves to get his diaper changed.

And now, for our moment of Zen....

Diapers drying on the clothes line in our backyard.

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