Tuesday tips: Cloth diapers

So I’m switching things up here (because it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to!) and talking about our choice to use cloth diapers with B.  Also I’m bringing back the Tuesday tips- woo!

I consider myself a sort-of “crunchy” mom- I try to buy organic/natural/local food and personal care items when I can for our family, but they don’t make up 100% of what I buy.  It’s all about balance for our family, which works best.  However, cloth diapers were something I’d always wanted to do- the benefits are almost too many to list- not only do they prevent waste accumulation in landfills, they are chemical free, cost effective (after an upfront cost), keep blowouts to a minimum (I am almost certain we have never had an all out poop blowout- we’ve come close, but the cloth definitely keeps things contained better), keep diaper rashes to a minimum and are just cuter that disposables!

To start this post off with 100% honesty, we do not cloth diaper B all of the time.  He wears 1 disposable diaper a day- at night- because by the time I got a cloth diaper on that boy that was thick enough to absorb everything, he could barely move his legs.  I did not want to spend $$$ trying to find the perfect combination of fabrics to absorb everything, not to mention we were already up to our ears in trial and error with the dairy/soy intolerance.  So because I like my sleep, $$ and a dry baby, we put a disposable on at night- and everyone was happy.

That being said, we do use cloth the rest of the time.  We were super lucky when B was born because my parents gifted us a year’s worth of diaper service which was AWESOME.  No having to wash diapers ourselves?  Yes please and thank you very much.  Not that washing diapers is difficult, but it was just one less thing to think about- toss the diaper in the pail and every thursday set the dirty diapers on the porch where they are magically replaced by a stack of clean ones.  Diaper service in our area costs around $50-60 a month- that’s for ~60 diapers a week.  We started off with 80 diapers a week when B was tiny and then scaled back once the diaper changes slowed down.  $50 a month is fairly comparable to what you would spend on disposable diapers in a month, especially in the beginning (10 diapers a day x 30 days in a month = 300 diapers, depending on what brand you purchase and where you purchase them from you may spend slightly more or less than $50-60).

There are a LOT of different ways to cloth diaper now- you can do prefolds with a cover, all in ones, pocket diapers, etc etc.  When I was first researching cloth diapers, my head was spinning from all the different choices available to new moms.  For us though, the choice was easier since our diaper service only provided prefold diapers.  Prefolds are a piece of cotton fabric that is divided into 3 sections.  The middle section is thicker than the outer two sections for absorbancy.  Obviously (or maybe not so obviously) wearing just the prefold does not keep clothes/you/furniture/etc dry- you need to cover it with something.  That’s where the diaper cover comes in.  When I was little I remember the plastic pull on pants that my mom would put on myself/my sister- nowadays the diaper covers are WAY cuter.  And adjustable!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a prefold- when you get them they are much more flat and thin but they fluff up the more you wash them.  It’s recommended you wash them at least 3 times prior to using them to “prep” them so they are super absorbant.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are a couple of our Flip covers.  See!!  Super cute!  No plastic pull up pants here!

Since we were starting out with prefolds, I purchased Flip covers (the company who makes Flip also makes the popular all in one diaper brand BumGenius).  I liked the style of the cover and the fact that it adjusted all the way to 35+lbs with snaps.  I purchased 9 covers, which I figured was more than enough.  Because the cover is made of PUL (polyurethane laminted) fabric it is waterproof and so you can just remove the wet prefold from the diaper and add a new prefold to the cover (we changed the entire thing if the cover got dirty from poop).

This system worked fine when I was staying at home with B- there is a little flap in the front of the cover that keeps the prefold in place on the Flip covers that would get damp over time, so we’d just rotate covers throughout the day.  Then he started daycare- and this system didn’t work as well because the cover wouldn’t get changed as frequently, which caused him to develop a rash.  After that we started pre-making our covers- basically we fold the prefold and put it inside the cover.  Each time he gets a diaper change at school, he gets a new pre-made prefold/cover combination.  For this reason I purchased a few more covers- we now have 14 covers.  Which means we have enough for 2 days worth of diapering (B uses 5-7 diapers a day now, not including nighttime).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what our diapers look like stuffed and ready to go.  To prep the diapers for the next day takes us maybe 5 minutes of stuffing?  Probably less actually

Then…summer time rolled around and suddenly B developed a very persistent rash.  One that would not go away no matter what I did.  Thanks to the suggestion of a friend, we finally figured out it was heat rash due to the warm wet cotton against his skin.  We added a fleece liner (literally a strip of fleece cut out of an old blanket) and the rash was gone!!  These fleece liners are great too if we do have to apply some cream to his diaper area- they protect the actual diaper from the cream (which can stop the diaper from being absorbent).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a fleece lined diaper- you can see the fleece doesn’t even fully cover the prefold (and isn’t even cut straight- ha!), but it does the job just fine!

Now that we’re “cloth diaper experts”- hahaha- I decided to stop our diaper service and purchase our own prefolds.  We do a load of laundry daily anyway, so adding some diapers to that is no big deal, and since B is eating solids the poop is much easier to deal with.  We use Ecos laundry detergent and just toss in some vinegar (for fabric softening) OR baking soda (for odor removal)- don’t add both vinegar and baking soda though!

Cost wise I feel like prefolds and covers are a pretty inexpensive way to do cloth diapers.  Here’s a break down for you:

1.  14 Flip covers at $14.95 a piece- purchased from Sweetbottoms Baby, when they were having a sale of buy 2 get 1 free= $149.50

2. 24 unbleached cotton Indian prefolds in premium from CottonBabies.com, 12 for $24- $48

3.  Fleece liners- free, because we had the blanket already

Total= $198 for 14 diapers (plus 10 extra prefolds)

I purchased the longer prefolds because B is big (*cough* 29lbs at his last dr visit *cough* wearing 2T/3T at 16mo *cough*)- this size would not fit an infant well.  To diaper a newborn/infant I would purchase the infant sized prefolds (which is the size we were getting from our diaper service), probably 24-36 of them, so that would be a $36-52 investment.  And if B is still in diapers when hypothetical baby 2 is on the scene, then we would of course need more covers.

Overall this system works great for us, and I’m really enjoying cloth diapering!!  Plus there is just nothing better than a baby running around in a fluffy cloth diaper, don’t you think?

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Do you cloth diaper?  What’s your favorite type of diaper to use?

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