Saturday, August 24, 2013

Our Cloth Diaper Journey

When we found out we were pregnant, we began looking into parenting options.  I knew I wanted to be present in our baby's life, as well as sustainable & thrifty.  We decided early on that one thing we really wanted to emphasize was that we would spend time, more than money, on our children.

8 weeks!

Diapering is a necessity of the early years of childhood.  Infants obviously aren't walking themselves to the bathroom.  We did a little research & I was disgusted by conventional disposables pretty quickly.  They use A LOT of energy to make them, they take years & years to biodegrade after being tossed (diapers I wore are still breaking down & have a long way to go!), & the chemicals used to make them so absorbent can wreak havoc on tiny tushies.  More sustainable disposable options (like Honest diapers) were a real long-term investment... they cost more & yet you still throw them out.  For me, there was only one logical answer: cloth.

cloth diaper storage

We began our cloth journey when Rue was about 1.5 weeks old.  At this point, I was recovered enough to put in the effort (childbirth is no picnic!), & Ted was still in need of a little convincing that this option was hygienic & not completely disgusting for us- especially poo diapers.  We started with a pre-loved stash of small gDiapers I had bought online from a friend of my SILs. It was important to me to purchase pre-loved diapers- after all, we were trying to reduce the amount of waste in the world!  These were close enough to the design & function of disposables, & the inserts were the only part that required special CD detergent.  It made it easier for my husband to acclimate as we made the change from disposable to cloth.  We really adored these for the first month, but then our little chub outgrew them.  These would actually be the best option for someone who wants to save some cash but not go 100% cloth, as they have disposable, biodegradable FLUSHABLE inserts one can use in lieu of the cloth inserts.  And again, the rest of the diaper parts can go in with your regular laundry- no special detergent required!  They are also sold at Babies-R-Us, so no specialty baby boutique trip is needed, either.

In the beginning, most of our pocket diapers were a bit too baggy on Rue, so we also frequently used prefolds with Snappis to secure them, under a Thirsties or Swaddlebees cover (the kinds we have are no longer made).  We still have these prefolds & covers on hand, in case we have a situation in which we run out of pocket diapers!

cloth diapers waiting to be stuffed

Here is where we learned the #1 cloth diaper lesson: not all diaper brands & styles will work for your baby.  Furthermore, some diapers that DO work for your baby now may not ALWAYS work for your baby!  My cousin had gifted us her stash so we had a few off-brand options to work with.  We were also gifted several other types of diapers so we could find what worked best for us.

We graduated from the gDiapers to Monkey Snuggles in size small fitted diapers & one-size with rise snaps (again, no longer available).  These worked for a while longer, but some of the snaps were faulty on ours & we decided to try some no-name diapers that are similar to FuzziBunz in the cut, but also have (more secure) rise snaps, sans hip snaps.  We had a couple Bummis diapers that were gifts.  We loved the patterns & super light-weight, silky exterior fabric (not the PUL our other diapers all use).  However, our little one always managed to pee through that fabric!  We used extra doublers for the pocket & AIO (all in one) versions, & still she would literally soak through the outer layer.  Our travel wet bag is the same fabric, though, & it is completely durable, with nary a leak.  Maybe it's a force thing.  I am really not sure & still quite baffled.

cloth wipes

What works best for us are FuzziBunz one-size Elite diapers (the wider style without the minky inserts, although we have a few with the minky insert that we also love for daytime use).  The wider ones can be used at night for Rue as long as we use the OS insert PLUS the newborn insert as a doubler, & I usually pop in a super-thin bamboo rayon soaker behind those to add just a bit more absorbency, since our little is a heavy wetter.  I totally let her fall asleep in a daytime-stuffed diaper last night & woke up in a tiny lake of urine.  Ick.  Even the best fitting diaper is no match to a night's worth of pee without proper stuffing.

We are also partial to Charlie Banana OS diapers (which- bonus- are found at our local Target stores!).  We love the disposable inserts for on-the-go use, as it allows us to carry less bulky diapers & keeps our smaller wet bag a bit more empty after a long day out.  The CB diapers are our favorite nighttime option!  They have a generous cut & wide pocket that accommodates the OS, newborn, & bamboo inserts beautifully, while still staying fairly trim on her bum.  The CBs have an envelope opening which is also nice.

cloth diaper shell drying

I really would like to get a few BumGenius OS diapers as well.  We love the FBs & CBs because they feature adjustable elastic in the legs to adjust the rise rather than snaps, so our little waterworks doesn't leak nearly as much in those, even when she wears one for a long nap in daytime mode (one insert).  However, she is chubbing up really nicely, & I hear great things about the BGs for chubby legged babes!  Additionally, once you get into cloth diapering- CDing- the colors & patterns can suck you in.  And I am a sucker for the hues of the BGs!  haha  Must.  Collect.  All.  The.  Diapers.

cloth diaper insert drying

Other accessories we cannot live without: our diaper sprayer, PlanetWise wet bags in our Target pail (works just as well as a CD specific pail- but cost $30 at our store!), Ruby Moon laundry detergent & pail sprinkles, Baby Bits wipe solution in a dollar store spray bottle, cheap baby washcloths with serged edges as wipes (I recently received handmade wipes from a friend that I will start using & will write about soon!), & a clothes rack, line, & clothespins.  We also use Diaper Lotion Potion Spray & Burt's Bees talc-free powder.  In fact, all the Burt's Bees baby products have been wonderful for Rue!

Ruby Moon detergent

There are a million blogs dedicated to CDing, & a million tutorials online.  I just wanted to share a bit we have learned along the way.  Cloth diaper laundry day is every other day in our house, & I usually tackle it while Rue takes her morning nap.  I think it is one of my favorite chores to accomplish!  I feel so calm with the routine: rinse, wash with detergent, rinse, take outside to line dry.  I love the last bit.  The cats & their stray friends usually come around to help me & be fed (okay, really, to be fed), I enjoy a bit of fresh air & a nice breeze, & I get to notice new things about our backyard.  For example, the fig tree is heavy with ripe fruit waiting to be picked, & is surrounded by sticky over-ripened fruit rotting on the ground, feeding the ants & other insects, but also adding nutrients to the soil, making way for wildflowers & lush grasses.  Something about laundry drying on a line takes me back to my childhood summers in Michigan with my grandparents on their farm, or in New York with my other grandparents on the lake.  It's timeless & easy & simple, & I hope one day, Rue will see line-drying linens & remember the comfortable fluffy bottom of her early years.

cloth diaper drying prep
the view of our back porch from the laundry room on cloth diaper day

Do you CD?  What are your must-haves?

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