Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cloth Diapers: How It's Going

We've been using our cloth diapers for just over a month now. We started as soon as Ada could fit into them, really. Overall, the process has evolved quite naturally. There are a gazillion posts on cloth diapers out there, so what we do isn't anything new.

Still, I thought I'd write a quick bit about how it's going for us.

I probably already mentioned what we're using. But to recap: We have 10 BumGenius 4.0s with snaps and 12 Bummis Tots Bots Easy Fits. So far, both types are working out well for us, but -- as suspected -- each has good points and bad.

The BumGenius (above) are doing wonderfully in the wash. The first couple times we used them, I noticed some yellow staining (which I've read tends to fade very well in the sun). In more recent washes, this hasn't been much of an issue. I'm just not thrilled each time we wash to have to reach in and pull out the smelly, sopping wet insert. However, I feel like we end up using more of this type because they dry so quickly. The inserts pop in the dryer and the outer part takes around 5-6 hour to dry on our line in the basement. All those snaps can be annoying if Ada is fussing during a diaper change . . . which happens frequently.

The Bummis (above) are awesome because the velcro is sturdy and strong. It slaps on her bum in two seconds flat. In the wash, these diapers are also great because all we need to do is toss them in. The all-in-one design features a liner that agitates out on its own! Though I have read (and practiced a few times) that you can machine dry the entire thing, it does compromise the integrity after time. We want to keep our diapers as fresh as possible, but line drying the Tots Bots can take a while. Usually 12 hours. Staining is a much bigger issue, too. Something about the bamboo seems to attract more yellow stains, and I've read that this issue isn't exclusive to our household.

To launder, we set our very basic, top-loading washing machine to the hot-cold temperature, 2 rinses, heavy duty cycle for the longest length (14 minutes). A lot of people ask me if it's absolutely disgusting to deal with day-old waste. Yes. It isn't pleasant. But you have to touch it all day long regardless. I just hold my breath, get it done, and immediately wash my hands.

Now, the process doesn't seem so bad.

Detergent: We've been using Purex Ultra -- Hypoallergenic. We use maybe a tablespoon of detergent because we read that's the best way to do it. In choosing the detergent, we tried to be realistic. I don't want to spend scads for diaper-specific brands. I also don't want to ruin what we have. The Purex we're using seems to be working well and got relatively good marks on several detergent charts I looked up.

To boost the stain-busting, we're currently adding a half scoop of Baby Oxiclean. (I imagine regular Oxiclean will work, too. We just received a couple tubs of the Baby variety for a shower gift.)

When everything is done hang-drying, etc., I bring everything upstairs to stuff, snap, and velcro for use. It's as easy as that. Half of the supply gets placed on our dining room table for day, half gets placed upstairs for night-time changes.

By the way, we tend to use the snaps during the day and the velcro at night. Less brain power needed in the dark hours that way.

Yup. You caught that. We're still using our dining room table for diapering. It's not glamorous, but it's working well for us at this time.

With 22 diapers in all, we end up doing laundry every other day. Ada goes through about 10 diapers a day. Though, sometimes more. This is my other annoyance with cloth diapering. We're still getting down the whole please-Ada-don't-pee-on-your-fresh-diaper thing. I feel like we end up "wasting" around 2 diapers a day. But I guess I'd rather have to do more laundry than suffer with more trash.

Excuse the horror movie basement:

Oh, yeah. That's the other awesome thing. In our city, we pay for trash tags. In the first couple weeks Ada was sporting disposables, our trash was through the roof. It's great to get rid of the stinky garbage bins and know that we aren't adding a pile of crap (literally) to our local landfill. To me, even if you take away the environmental aspect, it's just strange to picture a pile of her dirty diapers hanging out. Maybe it's just me!

In addition to our pale upstairs (a plastic, slim line Simple Human garbage can with liners), we bought a Planet Wise wet/dry bag in size medium. We use this bag downstairs and also take it with us when we travel. That's right -- we've been traveling (minimally) with our cloth diapers. Just day trips so far, but it's juts as easy as when we used disposable. The only difference is that we have to haul the dirty diapers with us. But it's not been a big deal.

I guess a silly annoyance we both have is that since Ada is so small and the diapers are still bulky on her, she looks ridiculous in some of her clothes. Poor girl. Her butt is stuffed, so even her 3 month pants fit snugly.

I imagine as she gets a bit bigger and fits them better, it won't seem as exaggerated.

On the horizon: We'd like to try fleece/bamboo/cloth wipes (specifically, I thought and have read that these Thirsties wipes work well). At first I thought they sounded gross. But we go through so many wipes a day, it's getting annoying. Anyone have experience with these? I guess I don't know how many we would need. I feel like we use so many I'd need to have hundreds on hand!

Anyway, that's how Ada gets her change on.

Now, if only I could get some time for a shower . . . or at least time to change out of my pajamas!

If you have questions about our cloth diapering practice, let us know. As well, if you have suggestions, we'd love to hear them! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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