Tag Archives: Cloth Diapering

Shake Your Cloth Diaper Booty V: FAQ & Resources

16 May

And now, a handy guide to Frequently Asked Questions in Cloth Diapering.

How many cloth diapers do you need?

This is a tough question for me because we really do not have enough. I think we started with 17 but now have 15 because we’ve had two get messed up in the washing machine and the elastic came out. Now that I’m typing this I realize we really should have sent those back to the manufacturer as they were under warranty. Damn.

My cousin suggests having at least twenty. She does diaper laundry every other day or every third day, so she probably has more than that.

Although we’re just getting by on diapers, we actually received an extra stack of hemp liners, and if you can afford it, I recommend you go for it. You’ll need extra liners incase you lose one or need to line the diaper for diaper rash cream.

What the heck am I supposed to do if my baby gets diaper rash?

Technically, you cannot use any butt creams or ointments with your cloth diapers as residue buildup will interfere with your diaper’s absorption abilities. If you do use an ointment it would be in violation of your diaper’s warranty, so use it at your own risk.

We did read about a technique, however, wherein you can use diaper cream if you put an extra diaper liner between your baby’s butt and the diaper. When you change the baby’s diaper you’ll need to set that liner aside and wash it separately from your regular diaper load because of – you guessed it – residue. This apparently does not void the warranty, but you should check your manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.

Some babies tend to get diaper rash and some babies don’t. Isobel was not a very rash-y baby but one thing that did tend to make her break out was intense heat. Soaring temperatures in late July and August meant a sweatier baby which naturally leads to rash. Keeping your baby as dry as possible down below is best, and my pediatrician even recommended giving Isobel diaper-free time in the heat of summer.

Some argue cloth diapers decrease the instance of diaper rash because they aren’t made of unbreathable plastic and chemicals, but some argue the instance is the same because cloth diapers are warmer in summer. Diaper rash is not the end of the world, it’s treatable, and happens to every baby. I don’t think one diaper or the other is to blame.

What do I do with poop?

When your baby is a newborn, the volume of their poop is so small that most of it will be taken care of by wiping your baby’s bum. As your baby gets older, what you will need to do is collect the solids with toilet paper and flush them down the toilet. If your baby has diarrhea this will be less pleasant than if your baby conveniently formed his or her poop into little balls for you. Ether way, collect the solids with toilet paper and flush them. Then take out the liners and dump the diaper and liners into the hamper. There’s nothing to wipe off with urine, just take the diaper apart and toss in the hamper.

Some places off a poop rinse gadget (don’t you dare google that, just click here) for rinsing the poop from the diaper. I assure you I have never needed that. Even Isobel’s blowouts have been easily handled by wiping off the excess with toilet paper and flushing it away. I know some people really like their poop rinse gadget, but perhaps they also like paying $45 bucks for a toilet attachment. I don’t and I’m saying that in my opinion, it’s not necessary. Your mileage may vary.

We do have a technique for diaper doodie duty now that she’s mobile. When she was a newborn it was easy to just leave her on the changing table while we took care of the mess. Now, however, that would be dangerous, so we set the dirty diaper on top of the closed hamper and finish changing her. When that’s done, we put her in her crib so she’s safe while we tend to the cleaning of poop and the washing of hands.

We’re fortunate that our nursery is very close to our bathroom. If you own a large mansion and your nursery is on a different floor from the nearest bathroom, make the maid do it.

Isn’t washing cloth diapers in the washing machine gross?

You’re gross.

Can I use cloth diapers as soon as my baby’s born?

They do make cloth diapers with a little cut out in the front especially for newborns. The important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want anything rubbing or chafing your baby on his/her tender umbilical cord area. Not only is it an unpleasant feeling, it could cause infection. You want to leave that whole area alone. Plus, newborns need their diapers changed about fifteen times a day, so you’d need I don’t know, millions of those little diapers for a two week period.

Basically, you can use cloth diapers from the get-go if you buy the special newborn version with the cutouts for the cords and if you want to launder a ton of diapers after pushing a buckethead of a baby out of your vajayjay, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Buy the disposable diapers for two week and forgive yourself because chances are you’ve done worse things in life.

Where do I buy all this crap?

Crap comes FREE with the purchase of every baby! Cloth diapers and supplies will run you a little more.

DIAPERS

Doing a cloth diaper search in google shopping will give you a ton of results. I got all mine through Amazon, however because it was easy enough for me to register there.

I personally use BumGenius 3.0 and I go into detail about the pros and cons here. A little hint: if you are having a girl and anticipate having more children, don’t register for 15 million pink diapers like I did. This will prove expensive if my next child is a boy.

We registered for a bunch of extra hemp liners to have on hand, such as these.

DIAPER PAIL LINER

Searching diaper pail liner will also give you a slew of results, however the one I use and love can be found here. Remember to get more than one or you’ll kick yourself later.

HAMPER

I had a very hard time finding a hamper to work as a diaper pail. All the ones I’ve found online have been rather pricey considering they were plastic baskets, and since they are large, shipping was more than I wanted to pay, too. I had several unsuccessful runs at Target before finding a trash can that was about $7.00 and fit my needs perfectly. Moral of the story: you’ll have better luck finding something cheap if you look in the wastebasket section. Sticking the word ‘baby’ on an item and stores feel justified in charging $20 more than they would otherwise.

WET BAGS

I got all my wet bags on etsy. I particularly recommend  monkey foot wet bags—secure and adorable!—but searching etsy for ‘wet bag’ or ‘cloth diapers’ should yield more results than you ever thought possible.

LAUNDRY DETERGENT

Remember, check with your manufacturer for the best soap for your diapers. Double-check, so as to not void the warranty. I use Charlie Soap which you can buy online. I think I heard it’s available at some natural foods stores or Trader Joe’s, if you happen to live near one. I don’t.

POO SPRAYER

Do you have $45 bucks you don’t need? You can buy a Poo Sprayer! Just click here)

PRODUCT REVIEWS AND FORUMS

Product reviews, diaper tips and a forum can be found at The Diaper Pin.

This site has reviews and giveaways but you have to register.

Tons of cloth diaper info can be found at All About Cloth Diapers.

If there are any other questions relating to cloth diapers or something you’d like me to go over again, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments. My cousin Liz really helped me get started in this and I would love to return the favor for someone else.

Happy pooping!

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Shake Your Cloth Diaper Booty IV: The Necessary Accessories

16 May

The expense of cloth diapers isn’t limited to the purchase of the diapers or the detergent—you do need a couple extra tools for the process:

• Diaper pail

• Diaper pail liners

• Wet bags

Hamper/Diaper Pail

Instead of a hamper I use a white plastic lidded garbage can, the kind with the flip-up-lid push-pedal. I’ve heard of some people throwing their cloth diapers in a plastic bin with water to soak before washing, but that sounds fetid to me. My diapers don’t require that but it’s a good point to research when perusing brands. Our diaper pail is also our hamper, so I throw in all of Isobel’s soiled clothes and washables in there, too.

Diaper Pail Liner

You’ll want to line your hamper with a washable diaper pail liner. Don’t be an idiot and only buy one diaper pail liner like I did. You need two: one will perpetually be in the wash while the other lines the hamper. The great thing about these is that when it comes time to do the wash you grab the whole liner, dump the diapers in the wash, and then toss in the liner itself. Your actual contact with the soiled diapers is minimal.

Wet Bags

What the heck is a wet bag, you ask? Sounds like a helluvan insult. A wet bag is a bag for storing soiled diapers in the diaper bag. It is specially made to be waterproof on the inside so that soiled cloth diapers don’t leak waste all over the contents of your diaper bag. You will need at least two of these as well. You’ll want an extra one of these hanging around if you have one in the wash.

The wet bag, like the diaper pail liner, can go directly into the wash along with the contents of the bag. Super nifty! Add to that the plethora of luscious fabrics to choose from, and they are one of my favorite things to purchase for baby. I mean, look at these:

You can find a bunch of these on etsy if you do a search for ‘wet bag.’ They come in lots of sizes (I recommend owning at least two large), and they have all sorts of uses beyond the diaper bag as well, particularly for carting wet bathing suits around after a swim.

I suppose you could always use some sort of plastic bag to store your used diapers in, but

1. wet bags are reusable, making them environmentally sound

2. wet bags can be used for other things, so they are versatile

3. plastic bags run the risk of leaking, which is EW GROSS

4. wet bags are gorgeous!

Next up, the Cloth Diaper FAQ and Resources post!

Shake Your Cloth Daiper Booty III: Washing Instructions

14 May

Where the magic happens

Where the magic happens

LAUNDRY & SOAP

The chore of laundering cloth diapers is the trade off for all the money you save from buying case after case of disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are kinder on the environment, too, but the fact that they are laundered and therefore use more water is something I worry about in our drought-plagued Valley. You do the best you can.

Cloth diapers have to be washed in a very specific kind of laundry soap that won’t leave a residue and therefore interfere with the absorbent properties of the diaper. The good news is that using ‘special soap’ doesn’t have to be more expensive. It certainly can be, and each diaper manufacturer either sells laundry detergent or has their recommendations.

I use Charlie Soap, which is effective and affordable. The drawback is it’s unavailable at the big box store and must be ordered online (although I have heard some specialty stores sell it). You pretty much can’t switch back to regular detergent while using your diapers because of the residue problem, so find a detergent you can commit to. I always wash my diapers with hot water.

WEAR, SMELLS & STAINS

Isobel is about as poopy as your average kid and we haven’t had any problems with smell. It all comes out in the wash, as they say. I’ve rarely had an issue with stains and the times I have they’ve bleached out after a couple of hours of sitting in the sun. After a year the fabric on the diaper tends to pill, but that problem is simply cosmetic. The only wear that’s an issue is with the Velcro itself. This is what the diapers look like after one year of heavy use:

I really don’t have enough cloth diapers so I do a load everyday. I did daily laundry pre-baby as well, although that probably wasn’t the best environmental practice. The loads I do these days are much fuller with the addition of diapers. I have no qualms with dumping the whole diaper pail liner full of soiled diapers into the wash with my clothes. I just don’t. I wash them in hot water with soap and have never had a problem. Urine washes right out and solid poop is flushed down the toilet. I know some people have issues with soiled diapers in the wash, but every thing comes out clean, and frankly, I think that’s a little silly.

I personally think Diaper Genies are gross, and had I not already been poised to use cloth diapers, one look at the Diaper Genie and I would have run to the internet for cloth diaper resources. Storing weeks of soiled diapers in a compressed pellet in your baby’s nursery, with its foul chemical ‘air freshener’ smell, is a far more offensive thought to me than washing diapers in a washing machine.

But to each their own. I can’t fault anyone who doesn’t have the resources to afford the initial investment of cloth, or the parents who can’t handle the extra laundry, or even the parent that does not mind the Diaper Genie. That is their choice, and I salute them. I can’t help but roll my eyes and sigh, however, when a parent tells me that washing my cloth diapers with my clothes is gross.

Regardless of whether you chose cloth or disposable you will have to deal with the smell of poop eventually. We do have a garbage can in the nursery, of course, because Mama Juani, who cares for Isobel once a week, prefers disposable and we use disposable diaper wipes. (Isobel also wears disposable diapers when she stays the night at Grandma Livia’s house. My MIL actually wholeheartedly supports our using cloth diapers, but we simply don’t have enough diapers to send away with her for the weekends.)

I take out the nursery trash once a week unless there’s a diaper in there or some major stinky poop happened. Since I do the laundry once a day (or thereabouts) the laundry itself does not make the room stink (again, unless there’s been some thunder down under, and then I am sure to wash a load soon).

Next post: The Necessary Accessories

Cloth Diaper Booty II: Electric Bugaloo

13 May

Here’s part II of my series on cloth diapers. You can find part 1 here.

Brands: FuzziBuns vs BumGenius


There are many kinds of cloth diapers out there but my experience has been limited to two of the larger brands, FuzziBuns and BumGenius. All in one (AIO) diapers have the absorbent layer built-in to the diaper, whereas pocket diapers (the kind I use) have a pouch on the inside for absorbent pads. The pocket diapers are more flexible and adjustable for use from newborns to toddlers, and therefore made the most economic sense to us. BumGenius pocket diapers each come with a liner and a doubler so you can adjust the amount of absorbency you need to your baby’s size.

Sizing and Fit

When I was pregnant FuzziBuns came in three sizes and BumGenius offered an adjustable ‘one-sized’ diaper that would work from birth to potty training on most babies, and that was the deciding factor. Cloth diapers are an investment up front, no question about it, and even though they save money in the long term, you have to be able to afford the initial costs to make it worth your while. Buying a bunch of one-sized diapers made more financial sense to us as opposed to buying a bunch of each size.

Since then FuzziBuns seems to have streamlined their design and now offer two different types of adjustable diapers to grow with your baby. The choice would be a lot harder for me now. The adjustable BumGenius diapers have three snaps on the front to adjust the length and a wide Velcro band to adjust the width.
My cousin Liz uses FuzziBuns on her daughter so I have had the opportunity of using these while babysitting Victoria. Their quality is just as good, if not better than, the BumGenius diapers.

little big

Closure: Velcro vs Snap


Thank goodness we don’t have to use diaper pins any more. Once my mom accidentally skewered my poor little baby leg and pinned the diaper to my wiggling flesh. Ouch! I’m happy to say that diaper pins are no longer necessary not just for safety reasons but also for convenience. Making cloth diapers as simple as possible will help those used to disposable make the switch.

FuzziBuns uses a complicated system of snaps to secure their diapers while BumGenius uses the ever-familiar Velcro closure. The Velcro makes it super easy to fasten and those hesitant about using cloth diapers will find it works just like the disposable. Learning the snaps on FuzziBuns isn’t hard, but if you have a grandmother or other caretaker that is hesitant about using cloth diapers then it’s another hurdle to overcome.

I will say that when you have a determined toddler who tries to get away from you mid-diaper change the Velcro is much easier to work with. Many times I’ve diapered Isobel in her BumGenius while she was standing up and trying to walk away from me. This would have been impossible if I had to fasten a series of snaps.
The Velcro is much easier to use but it wears out quickly. You are supposed to fold the tabs in for laundering but they inevitably start to curl and collect threads that lead to loss of ‘sticking power.’ Sometimes Anthony and I sit in front of the TV with a bunch of diapers in our lap to de-fuzz the Velcro. It’s a hassle, but it works.

Both closures have their pros and cons; it basically comes down to a matter of personal choice and what works for your family.
Next Post–Washing Instructions, and Wear, Stains and Smells!

Shake Your Cloth Diaper Booty, part I

12 May

I like big butts and I cannot lie

Cloth diapering has changed in many ways since my own bum was swaddled in absorbent cotton, and this is a good thing. I planned on using cloth diapers from the start because that was what my mom used, but when I found out I was pregnant I realized I no longer recognized the cloth diaper landscape. I logged on to forums and saw terms I was unfamiliar with–AIO diapers? Pocket Diapers? Liners? Wet bags? It’s all so confusing!

Back in the day my mom wrapped me in cotton pinned together with actual metal and plastic diaper pins and topped the whole thing with a plastic cover that looked suspiciously like a shower cap for the butt. Cloth diapers have come a long way since then.

The next few posts I have lined up are all about cloth diapers. We’ve used cloth diapers since Isobel was two weeks old and I’ve had lots of people approach me with questions. I’ve written the same email over and over to friends who have wanted to learn more about them so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned here.

Using cloth diapers is not hard, it’s not scary, and it’s certainly not gross. What it is an investment up front (but major savings overall), a kindness to the environment, and a commitment to the wash and fold cycle.

The first thing people assume when I tell them I use cloth diapers is, “Oh! You have a diaper service!” It’s after I tell them that we launder the diapers ourselves that I begin to get the strange looks. It’s not as hard as many people think it is. In many ways, it’s not hard at all.

Let me just say that I am no cloth diapering expert, nor have I tried more than a couple cloth diapers. I’m not the end-all, be-all of diaper information, but I do want to share my experience incase you are thinking about cloth diapering and would like to know more.

If you have thought about cloth diapering, or just have questions about it in general, please add them to the comments section. I am going to wrap up this whole series with a Cloth Diapering FAQ and would like to address as many questions as possible. We cloth diaper, and we love it.