Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cloth Diapering - How To

This is the second post in my 'Cloth Diapering' series. The first was a diaper review. This is the 'how to' cloth diaper. And I've decided I need to do one more after this: 'Cloth Diapering - Would I do it again?'. Stay tuned...

So, if you're thinking about using cloth diapers, you might ask what does that entail? There are three things you need to think about:
  1. Having a diaper supply.
  2. Cleaning the diapers.
  3. Traveling with diapers.
Each of these has some additional points to ponder, so I'll address them one at a time.

Diaper Supply
Check out my diaper review for my thoughts on which diapers to get. The summary: If cost was no issue, I'd get enough Kawaii One Size Heavy Duty cloth diapers to last me for a wash cycle. However, since cost is an issue, if I had it to do again, I'd got enough Kawaii for night/nap time, and prefolds for day-time.

Tristan is now going through about 8 diapers a day. So what I actually have are 24 prefold (with 4 diaper covers), 11 BumGenius, 1 Kawaii, 6 Thirsties fitted diapers, and 4 FuzzyBunz. With all of these, I can go 4 days between washings. Yes, I know the math doesn't add up, but I need something to put him in on day 4 when the diapers are in the wash, and more accurately, hung out to dry (Ah! Light bulb!). :)

One other thing to think of on the supply side, if you're using cloth diapers, why not use cloth baby wipes? I've got 30 wipes, I use them with a mix of water and baby shampoo. I have a tub of the mix on the changing table and just get the wipe wet when I need to use it. Then it goes in the pail with the dirty diaper. And I also use toilet paper to clean up baby poop from Tristan's bum, then that just goes in the toilet. May sound complicated, but its not, and I'm only using disposable wipes when we are away from the house.

Cleaning Diapers
There are a few things you need for cleaning the diapers. You need a supply that lasts you a how ever many days you decide to do laundry. See the Diaper Supply section above.

You also need some sort of diaper pail. We use 3 kitty liter buckets. Yeah, I'm serious. They work great. They're easy to dump into the washing machine, they hold the odor, and they were easy to get! We started using them because Tristan arrived in our lives a little early and we hadn't gotten a diaper pail. Then when they worked, we just kept using them. The only thing you need for inside the pail (other than the dirty diapers) is baking soda to help with the smell. I sprinkle some into the bottom of the bucket. Then when we do the wash, I put some water into the bucket using the detergent cap, and swish it around, and then dump the water into the machine.

Part of cloth diapering is dealing with baby poop. And until you start feeding your baby solids, baby poop is very liquid-y. I have read that you can just shake out the poop into the toilet and pop the diapers in the washer, but that didn't sit right with me, I really didn't think my old top-load machine would really clean the diapers. Which lead to the Diaper Sprayer. Best invention ever. Really! The diaper sprayer hooks up to the toilet water supply, and when you change a poopy diaper, you just hang it over the side of the toilet, spray the poop off, and put the diaper in the bucket. No fuss, no muss. E will tell you that cleaning the BumGenius diapers with the sprayer is a pain, but I found that you just need to put the diaper inside out over your fist, instead of draping it over the side of the toilet.

So now, onto the actual washing. As I said, I do the laundry every 4 days. I do the diapers at night because I only have 4 diaper covers, and I need at least 1 to be dry to use. So the diapers go in when Tristan goes to bed. I bring the buckets down to the machine, dump them in, rinse them out, and turn them upside down in the shower to dry out. If they smell a bit, I use all purpose cleaner to give them a quick clean. For pre-solids diapers, I used the extra wash cycle. For post-solids diapers, I just use a normal wash. And in both cases, I use Dreft detergent and an extra rinse cycle. When they're done, in the winter or wet weather, I pop them into the dryer, and the rest of the time I hang them out to dry. One great thing about line drying, it gets out the poop stains. The sun is the best bleach alternative ever!

So now we come to the travel portion. I keep diapers and a wet bag in my diaper bag. Usually the diapers are the FuzzyBunz because I'm not too fond of them and would rather not use them every day. But they work well when out and about, as long as Tristan doesn't need to go more than an hour and a half in the diaper. The wet bags have a cinch top and when we change Tristan, we just stick the diaper in the wet bag. The wet bags help control the smell and keep the stuff in the diaper bag from getting soiled or damp. If Tristan's got a diaper cover on, I leave it attached to the outside of the diaper bag to air dry a bit before the next use.

For day or overnight trips, we just bring along the diapers and a kitty liter bucket or two, and we're all set.

So, that's it. I think I've gotten everything you might need to know to use cloth diapers. If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to add a post!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cloth Diapering - Diaper Review

When E and I were preparing for Tristan's arrival, there was no question that we'd be using cloth diapers. The only question was what kind. It was so very daunting how many different types of cloth diapers there were to choose... All in ones, prefolds, fitted, and there were so many different brands of each type on top of that! So, I asked for some advice from the few friends that used cloth, registered for a few different kinds, and hoped for the best.

I decided that I needed to make 2 posts about this, one for a diaper review and one for a 'how to' kind of guide. So, here's the first, the diaper review.

First, a short dictionary for those that don't know cloth diapers.

Pocket diaper - A waterproof shell with a micro-fleece inside that creates a pocket. You put an absorbent insert inside the pocket. The baby stays dry because the micro-fleece inside wicks the moisture away.

- Your parents cloth diapers. But they're better than they used to be. They're made up of many layers of cotton (4 on the outer edges, 8 in the middle for more absorbency) and are very absorbent. They have to be held closed with something (now-a-days, Snappis, something like an ace bandage 'pin') and need a diaper cover.

Diaper cover
- The waterproof cover that goes over all diapers that don't have a built in waterproof layer. These covers are what makes cloth diapers so much better than what our parents used. They're light weight, semi-breathable, and very waterproof. They go on over the cloth diaper like a disposable diaper, not underwear, which makes them easier to use then the old style rubber pants.

Fitted diapers
- Diapers that are made to 'fit' the baby, so you don't have to fold it. These usually look a lot like disposables. They also usually have a thicker middle section to help absorb more liquids. All of the fitted diapers I have need a diaper cover.

And now for the different types of diapers:
KaWaii Baby One Size Heavy Duty Pocket Diaper
Best diaper ever. It's a pocket diaper, and they're easy to use, with Velcro closures and snaps to size them to the baby (supposed to work from 8-30 pounds). They come with an extra insert for heavy wetting/night time diapering. And the pocket has a flap to keep the inserts in place, which incidentally also makes rinsing the poop out of them easier than other diapers. They're very similar to the BumGenius (below), though they are better than the BumGenius in the flap closure and full size extra insert.

The only con for this diaper is the price. At $7 for one diaper, they're not as cost effective as others, but they're not too bad either.

I only have one of these, because I found them after I'd stocked up on the BumGenius (below). But if I need to buy more diapers, these will be what I get. You can find them at the Kawaii web site.

BumGenius 3.0 Cloth Diaper
I believe this is the 'original' of the Kawaii diaper above. It's almost exactly the same, so it's almost the best diaper ever, except...

The cons for this diaper are the price (really, $16 for one diaper when I got them, and now I see they're up to $18?!?), the pocket closure is funky and doesn't work as good as the Kawaii flap, and the extra insert is a 3/4 length, 1/2 thickness insert. When Tristan was wetting at his heaviest, I needed to put in 2 extra inserts, which made the diaper very bulky.

I got some of these as a gift, and the others I bought from

Diaper Rite Prefolds and Bummis Super Wisper Wraps
The Diaper Rite prefolds are very absorbent. Before Tristan fit in the BumGenius diapers, I had him overnight in these. I bought the prefolds as a package with the Bummis Super Wisper Wrap diaper covers. I use an 'angel' closure with the prefold, meaning I fold the diaper in thirds in the front, but leave it fully out in the back. Then I use a Snappi (another in the best inventions ever category) to keep the diaper in place. Supposedly you can just fold the diaper in thirds and put it into the cover, but that didn't work with pre-solid-foods poop. Maybe now it would though...

The pros for this combo is the price (worked out to $3.23 to $3.79 per diaper when you factor in the diaper cover) and the absorbancy.

The cons are the bulk of needing 3 things to do one diaper and that they are definitely not as easy as disposables. I've gotten really good at using these, and wouldn't consider this a con for myself, just not sure I can leave Tristan with someone with these diapers without having them practice using them for a bit.

Since these diapers come in sizes, I've gotten the newborn, small and medium sizes as Tristan grew. I got the packages at

Kissaluvs Fitted Diaper
I only used this a short time, as it was the newborn size and only fit Tristan for a month or less.

The pros (which I didn't grasp at the time) are the ease of use. They go on similar in style to disposables.

The cons, they don't hold as much as a prefold, making you change the baby more often, and and they cost more than the KaWaii diapers without having the waterproof layer.

I got this diaper as part of a diaper sample package from

Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover
I hated this diaper cover.

The cons, it just didn't fit over the prefold diapers, they stuck out at his legs and got his clothes wet. I might use it for the next kid if it fits over the Kissaluvs diaper. Or I might get rid of it.

I got this diaper cover as part of a diaper sample package from, though I see that they now are offering the Bummis cover with the package instead.

Thirsties Fitted Diapers
I got these diapers at a second hand store, and I don't see that they make them anymore. But I'll still review them. They're pretty good diapers.

The pros, I can give them to anybody to use without worrying that Tristan will end up soaked and I don't have to have a Snappi handy.

The cons, they don't absorb as much as the prefolds and they cost (new) more than the KaWaii diapers without having the waterproof layer.

And that's it for the diaper review! Hopefully it was helpful for somebody. And stay tuned for the 'how to' guide...