Saturday, June 16

Cloth Diapering

Tiny cloth diapered (with no cover) Mavry on Aunt Laura.   
There are plentiful posts all over the web about cloth diapering.  So, really I don't need to add to the mix, but among the people I know, most don't use cloth diapers and are curious about it, so here's a little summary of what we do.  
Little bottom with a wool cover.

I never considered disposable diapering, so I don't really know how much disposables cost or how much we are saving.  I decided to cloth diaper because I want to do all I can to be more natural and cut back on waste.  In my opinion, it's not much more work than disposable diapering.  (Colin definitely does his share of changing and pottying, especially when we are out.  I am lucky that he is fully supportive!)  Besides the cost and waste issue, we also wanted to cloth diaper because we are doing elimination communication (EC). 

There's hardly any stink involved (at this point) and not too much mess.  It's just a little more laundry every week.  There are many cloth diapering options these days with all the different kinds of covers, all-in-ones, etc, but I didn't really look into them.  I chose to use prefolds with covers because it was the cheapest way to go and also because I heard it was the best method to combine with EC. We got almost all our diapers as gifts through our amazon registry, so for us there was very little upfront cost.

Laundry drying in the sun
We have two kinds of  lanolized wool covers that I got secondhand through Craigslist.  (Two of these are Firefly and the rest are homemade with no snaps.)  We also got one of these Grovia snap covers from our registry.  I think the wool look the cutest, but the ones that just slip on without snaps are a little harder to get on, so we only use them when looks or a trim bootie are a priority.  That means we use the snap ones the most.  The wool also can feel a little damp if the prefold inside gets soaked.  Inside the covers, we use prefolds with snappis.  We have prefolds in three sizes.  The smallest ones fit with a little folding down in the front from day one (I just looked back at her first weeks pics - she was so small!), although we used the disposable diapers from the hospital until we ran out since she was so little and we didn't want to deal with meconium.  Newborns tend to wet all the time, so we also used the other two sizes from day one - the medium size ones made a bulky fit when she was little, but fit her perfectly now.  (The small size can no longer be closed with a snappi, but we just fold them into a rectangle and put them in her cover and it works fine.)  The large size we have used from her first week to put underneath her for diaper free time and also underneath her when she is nursing diaper free. 

For nighttime, we use these since we don't usually get up to change her at night and the velour top helps her feel more dry.  I have considered getting these and these also look pretty great but are expensive.  What we have now seems to work well most of the time.  One time she completely soaked through and once she woke up in the morning completely dry! 

As far as other helpful gear goes, we have a diaper sprayer, which I think is great, but not completely necessary, a hanging wet bag (good for us since we don't really have space for a diaper bucket) and a travel wet bag that also has a dry compartment for clean diapers (this bag looks much larger in the picture, but is really just the right size for a few diapers).  We use this changing mat in our bathroom next to the sink since a regular changing pad is too big for our space.  (At first, we just used a towel, but now we keep a towel underneath this - it's nice to have a nonslip, wipe-able surface.)  We like having the changing station in the bathroom since we use homemade flannel wipes and warm water instead of throwaway ones. 

I made an extra clothesline outside since sometimes I am drying a lot of laundry!
It's important to use cloth diaper detergent like this or this so that you don't get detergent build up on your diapers because, oddly enough, that will make them hold on to their stink.  When I notice that they are a little stinky even after washing, I will make sure to soak them before the next wash in a bucket with a glug of white vinegar and also let them dry out in the sunshine after the wash. Drying them in the sunshine helps get rid of the stink, takes care of stains (I am amazed by that every time!) and is a natural disinfectant.  When I dry our clothes in the dryer, I use two wool dryer balls instead of a dryer sheet since dryer sheets (like the wrong detergent) coat the diapers with stuff that makes them hold on to their stink.  The dryer balls also slightly speed up the drying time. 

I'll post next about EC, which is a big component in how easy it is for us to cloth diaper. 

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