Saturday, 1 June 2013
To Cloth or Not to Cloth
When I was pregnant, I heard cloth diapering was all the rage. As a crunchy mama wannabe, I was all about it! I started slowly building my cloth diaper stash so that when my baby arrived, I would be ready to go.
Guess what? It took me 3 months to even attempt a cloth diaper.
And by the time I did, I ended up selling my stash and getting a whole new diaper system. It isn't a walk in the park. It's not for everyone. And you aren't better than anyone else because you cloth diaper your kid. Sorry. (Does that bother anyone else?)
We made the switch, and so far we like it. But it took a while to get there. So I wanted to offer whatever little advice I have to any new mamas thinking about cloth diapering, and wondering how to start.
First, get educated on all the different diapering systems. From prefolds and covers, to pockets and all-in-ones. It takes a bit of reading to digest all the information and decide what system works best for you. I won't bore you by talking about each diaper system. You read more about that here and here.
I don't suggest buying a 40 pack of one brand of diaper and here's why. Just like Pampers and Huggies fit your baby's shape differently, cloth does too! Pick up one or two of a bunch of different styles and brands and decide what you like best.
Sound expensive? It doesn't have to be. There are tons of diaper exchanges online and on Facebook where you can buy someone's gently used or hardly worn cloth diaper and try it. No. It's not gross. I always ask for lots of pictures before buying so I really know how "loved" the diaper was. I strip and wash it when it arrives and we start with a clean slate.
Personally, I fell in love with pocket diapers. They have a built in fleece sleeve inside the waterproof diaper where you place your insert of choice. If you have a heavy wetter, you can stuff two inserts in there. If you want a trim fit, you can use hemp or bamboo inserts. It's a really versatile diaper.
A lot of people want to know if cloth diapering is gross. Not yet. Its actually quite simple. I hang a wet bag next to the changing table. I unsnap Reese's dirty dipe. I hang it into the wet bag, shaking out the insert. Drop it and zip the bag. Yup, poopy ones too. Breastmilk poo washes out with no fuss no muss.
Washing cloth diapers isn't a big deal. Most diapers come with recommendations on how to wash them. Most new diapers should be washed and rinsed a bunch of times to "prep" them or they won't absorb very well. My wash routine looks like this: Shake out wet bag into washing machine, dropping the wet bag in too. Run a cold rinse on everything. Use cloth friendly detergent (there's a ton of them; Rocking Green, ECOS, Tide powder, etc) and run a full wash cycle on warm. I usually throw a soak time in there before the rinse and spin. If I peek and see the water still looks sudsy towards the end I run one more cold rinse. My diapers always go on the line. The sun is your friend. It takes stains out better than any product I have bought. Inserts go in the dryer for 30 mins on high. I sun the ones that might look a little stained. When all is dry, I stuff inserts in my pockets while watching tv or something so we are ready for the next day.
I am not convinced that cloth diapering is that much better for the environment since we use a bit more water washing. But I do feel better about not filling landfills with all our plastic chemical crap. I also can't say that these diapers have paid for themselves yet. But I am confident they will. I look at it like this. One cloth diaper probably costs as much as 1 box of diapers. We use about 12 a day. And I like to have enough that I can do laundry every other day if possible. So 24 is the goal. We aren't there yet. Although there are a lot of very affordable cloth diapers (Kawaii, Alva Baby to name a few) but I tend to believe you get what you pay for in terms of how they stand up in the long run. So if you're curious, we love Bum Genius 4.0 diapers, Blueberry pockets, and Fuzzibunz Elite (adjustable and replaceable leg elastic gives you a very custom fit).
So there you have it. We cloth diaper and kind of love it.
I'm linking up for Wifefessional's Preparing for a Little One link-up series. It's pretty great. Each week she tackles a different topic, questions and choices we face as new moms. Go check it out!