Monday, August 9, 2010

Cloth Diapers 101 From a Pre-Mom

Ever since Chris and I started talking about having kids cloth diapers has been something that we have got into huge debates about. I really want to cloth diaper, Chris doesn't. So last weekend, again, the debate was started. He finally said "Show me a Mom who uses them and I consider it." My reply "Easy."

Google is such a wonderful thing. I typed in "Cloth Diaper Store Columbus Ohio" and the gates of google opened up and revealed Spout Soup. It's located 10 minutes from my house and has a class called Cloth Diapers 101. I called right way and left a message to get us signed up for Cloth Diapers 101. The only thing negative I have to say about the store is they never called back. We ended up stopping in on Saturday and signing up that way.

Sunday rolled around and my sister in law decided to come with Chris and I too. It cost $10 for all three of us to attend this class, then the $10 was applied in a store credit after class. Pretty good deal, huh? I had one reservation about this: Please don't just be a sales tactic for purchasing stuff in the store. I can tell you, it wasn't. I don't think I have learned so much from an hour long class on anything. As much as I wanted to do cloth diapers, I still wasn't totally sure how everything worked. That is not the case anymore. I'm going to outline some of the points that she went over below:
  • Down and Dirty: Let's talk about Poop! Most breastfed baby poop will not stain the diapers if they are rinsed in cold first. Formula-fed baby poop should be placed in the toilet before washing if its more solid than liquid. Using a diaper sprayer will help clean off any excess.

  • Down and Dirty: Caring for your cloth All cloth diapers should be stored in a dry pail (The older way was to store them in water with solution until you were ready to wash, this is not needed anymore). Use a pail with a lid to contain smell. Pail liners can be used to keep the pail clean (this would be washed with the cloth diapers)

  • Down and Dirty: Washing Pre-rinse in cold water. No detergent. Then wash on hot, normal cycle. She mentioned that All Free & Clear & 7th Generation Delicate and tried and tested off the shelf detergents that can be used on cloth diapers. But, ofcourse, most of the cloth diaper companies have their own detergents.
  • Down and Dirty: Stains This was the simplest thing I've ever heard: Placing a wet diaper in the sun will eliminate most stains. Now we live in Ohio, so it's cold 5 months out of the year, so she said in front of a window does the trick too.
That doesn't sound too bad right? Well here's where my confusion came in: What type of diaper would work for our family? One Layer, Pre-fold, Inserts, All in One? What does that even mean?

What I found out is all those terms are referring to is the type of insert/cloth that is inside the cover.

One Layer- This is probably what our Mom's would have used if they cloth diapered. This would be folded around the baby then a cover put over it. Cheapest Option.

Pre-fold- This is the same thing as above just 'pre-folded', this allows the thickest part to be in the middle. This would be folded one more time on each side of the thickest part and insert into a cover, as shown below. The pre-folds run about $24 for 12 and you can always go cheaper or more expensive, plus cover (about $13)

Inserts-This is an insert that is put into a pocket in the cover. The down fall I could see to this is you would need a ton of covers. Getting more expensive because you would have to use a new cover with each change.

All In One (AIO)-This is the easiest and one of the most expensive options. Again you would have to use a new cover with each change. See below from Bum Genius

Are you still with me?

After that very informative hour long class, I'm happy to report that Christopher is on board for cloth diapering. The cloth diapering system that we liked the most is the pre-fold. So with my $10 store credit I purchased a Thirsties Duo Wrap Prefold and paid an additonal $3.

There were many other things discussed in this class:

Biosoft Liners-It's a liner that goes over the cloth and you roll up with the poop/urine and flush down the toilet. These run about $8 for 100

Cloth Wipes-Same concept except you want these to be wet when using them. There are tutorials all over the internet on how to make your own. This saves you even more money.

Absorbing Issues- Some babies are just a bigger wetter than others, so our teacher taught us that hemp is more absorbent than cotton, wool is the most absorbent.

Newborns-There are special cloth diapers made for newborns. This can be tricky because you are going to want to buy most of your supply for 2 months to 2 years upfront. Some decide to use the 7th generation diapers, some decide to buy used, some decide to buy the newborn size in just a few and do more laundry. The jury is still out on what we will do with this stage.

I never thought I'd be the Mom who wanted to cloth diaper but after hearing that a disposable diaper can take up to 450 years to biodegrade I want to do my part to keep the land fills clean of diapers. Also, this is such a cheaper option. Here is a site I found from a Dad who broke it down with laundry costs.

Overall, I would recommend going to Sprout Soup if you live in the Columbus area. They have a lot of really good organic selection of Cribs, Sheets, Toys, Clothes, etc. Also, they offer a baby carrier class which shows you all the options for baby carriers and shows you how to use them properly. 

Whew, that was a mouthful. What do you think? Would you cloth diaper? Do you cloth diaper? I'd love to hear from the Mom's out there.


Anonymous said...

Very cool! I've always said that I would use cloth diapers if we have a baby. It's much more economical, and I think it truly is better for the little one. Thanks for sharing all of this information!

Michelle Murphy said...

We've been cloth diapering full-time for about 7 months now (my son is 11 months old). When he was first born I didn't have enough diapers to get through a day so we used a few here and there. I've used 7th Generation diapers, Earth's Best Diapers, and Broody Chick biodegradable diapers, which are all better options than regular disposables for newborns. GroVia also has a new biodiaper that I've wanted to try too, which is biodegradable. Or they have biosoakers that fit in their shells that are biodegradable which I've used and thought were decent.

My top diaper recommendations are:
BumGenius (very absorbent and fit well)
Fuzzibunz (all though the eleastic starts to stretch out and may need to be replaced)
Smartipants (lots of button for adjusting the size, they are also very soft and absorbent, plus I like that there are two openings for getting the liner in the pocket)
Bummis covers and organic cotton prefolds (a little bulky but very absorbent and a lower cost option)

I highly recommend using a biodegradable liner inside of the diaper to catch the poop! I've used a couple brands and my favorite is the one from GroVia.

As far as cleaning goes, I started off using All detergent, but it's not very eco-friendly compared to other options on the market. Also I learned that with cloth diapers you don't want to use a detergent with soap in it because it clogs the liner and soakers. The soap I LOVE is Crunchy Clean which is very affordable, smells wonderful, and is made by a work at home mom, which is awesome! When my son poops, I throw away the bioliner, swirl the diaper in the toilet if there is any poop left in it. Remove the soaker/prefold/insert from the diaper and place it in a soak bucket that contains cold water, a little vinegar, and baking soda. Hanging the diaper to dry in the sun does help with stains that adding a little vinegar to the wash doesn't get. Or you can try KIDS'N'PETS as a little stain pre-treat, I tested it out and it works great!
I also suggest getting a large wet bag for collecting diapers either in a pail or as a laundry bag. Small wet/dry bags are great for when you are on the go.
Once you get in a cloth diaper routine, it's easy and you will enjoy the savings, plus you are one less person contributing diapers to landfills!