please explain: cloth diapering - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-08-2013, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm 12 weeks preg, and for all those cost/ environmental reasons, I'd like to cloth diaper. There is a service that launders 2x a week in our town which seems like a reasonable luxury. But, I swear the last time I changed a cloth diaper, it was my sister's and it was the mid 80s. From googling, it seems that the cloth diaper technology has advanced significantly. Can you please explain how they work now? What do I troll local Craigslist for to buy cheaply? What can I make myself? (I'm fond of sewing projects) How much will we need? What "accessories/gadgets" are essential?
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#2 of 7 Old 02-08-2013, 04:13 PM
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I prefer lower-techand keeping it simple, but I also think there are some great innovations from the past couple of decades.


I think the simplest and most practical diapers are still cotton prefolds even though they have been around forever :)  Cover with something waterproof.  We used pins, but it was already going "out of style"  ...I'd probably use pins again though because you get a perfect fit when you are practiced at using them.  Snappis are a very simple alternative to pins that many people love.


Fitted diapers: Thick is good, doublers that you can put inside are useful, newborn sized prefolds can be used as doublers.  I don't like velcro in diapers or covers but many people do.  Snapping fitted diapers can be nice.  For used maybe search for "fitted diapers" and watch for all cotton or even hemp fabrics and nice and thick diapers, those with flaps that lay inside can be good because they will dry much better than the same amount of cotton sewn into a single unit.


Covers:  use over fitted or prefold diapers.  They involve either plastic (nylon or PUL or ___?)  or wool. I LOVED wool covers--wool is the perfect material for diaper covers and you can save a lot of money making waterproof britches from lambswool sweaters, felted.  This is better savings and investment of time for quality than making diapers themselves.  Search "wool cover" and "wool diaper cover" and "wool longies" for used items.


All in ones are super-easy but for me they were not attractive and I've never used them.  Too much cost per diaper, so if one is damaged or lost it's problematic.  I always worried about the washing for the different parts, too.  I prefer to put my cotton through heavy and hot repeated washings and covers get a gentler treatment.  With a laundry service you might expect to wash any kind of special care covers at home yourself.  I don't know enough about care to imagine doing all-in-ones with a service but I would imagine the difference in care for a waterproof fabric and absorbent cotton is a weak point.


Pocket diapers:  Clever but expensive. I've never used them.  But try a sample or two if they appeal to you.


I'd probably buy prefolds, including some newborn sized ones, really simple covers such as maybe the plain nylon pull-on pants, and a handful of samples of the others to see what you like before investing in larger quantities of pricey options. I'd get snappis and pins both because they are affordable enough to try both easily.  I'd consider wetbags to be on the must-have list also.  There are people who are devoted to certain things and only experience is going to show you what you will be devoted to. 


I would also look on Etsy because I love dealing directly with moms who are making things themselves.

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#3 of 7 Old 02-08-2013, 04:48 PM
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There are lots of free patterns online to make your own covers, fitted prefolds & pocket diapers. I personally love fitted pocket fuzzi bunz brand. They are expensive but worth it & I supplement with prefolds & covers. You can always put cloth diapers on your registry.
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#4 of 7 Old 02-10-2013, 04:33 PM
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if your going through a diaper service they probally use prefolds with covers. to figure out how many you need i used 12 per day when my son was a baby and if they only wash 2x a week means one will be 3days and another will be 4days so try to make sure you have enough for the 4 day stretch. covers can be set aside to air dry between uses as long as they don't get poop on them. you probally will need 3 or 4 of them. I also loved wool covers. used them for overnight.


hope this helps


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#5 of 7 Old 02-12-2013, 09:53 AM
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For the newborn phase we used mostly fitteds, I love the Sandy ones from Mother Ease (we ended up using their one size ones later too). They keep *everything* in and are squishy soft. I bought mine on our local craigslist for a little less than 50% of the retail cost and they were only used on one baby for a couple of months. Newborn diapers are a good deal to get used because they don't get much wear and tear due to the short time they fit. I'm totally keeping these for the next baby!


I also got some all-in-one diapers for the newborn stage that got great reviews online and didn't like them at all. They didn't do a good job of keeping poop contained (mind you DD was a super-pooper!) and took a long time to dry compared to the other diapers. I sold these when DD grew out of them. Oh, and I had both snaps and velcro and liked the snaps much better. I found velcro to be noisy (especially during those night time changes when they're newborns) and I had to worry about the tabs getting onto the laundry tabs just right. Meh. I've heard others say they like velcro for the adjustability but especially when the baby isn't running around or even moving around much it's not like the diaper will fall off or anything. Plus the cover helps keep it on too if you go with prefolds or fitteds but with our awesome fitteds I only got poop on the cover like 2 or 3 times the whole time we used them.


After the newborn phase we went with one size diapers. At first fitteds and some pockets and then I slowly increased our pocket stash as DD got bigger and her pee stronger. Plus they are convenient for a baby that doesn't want to sit still for diaper changes. I don't mind the stuffing and DD likes to "help" though I know some folks aren't a fan. I like that they dry fast too as opposed to an all-in-one and I can add a second insert if I need to (although I usually just change right away). Also you can get different types of inserts, I know some folks are big on bamboo or cotton rather than microfibre. I mostly have cheap pockets from Alvababy and Kawaii and like them just as well as my Bum Genius and Fuzzi Bunz. Actually I like the cheap ones better for certain things.


I prefer to wash every other day, it's easy, I just toss diapers in the wash in the evening before putting DD to bed, by the time she's asleep I can put them in the dryer. Then I usually clean up the kitchen from dinner and put away some toys, by the time I'm ready for bed they're dry and I toss them in the hamper for stuffing/folding the next morning. DD likes to pick out her favourite colours from the bin and play with them as I fold so it's a fun little activity for her. I don't find the laundering to be difficult at all, I think once you figure out a routine that works for you it's not that hard assuming you have a washer and dryer. I personally wouldn't get a diaper service because: 1 - the dirty diapers have to sit in your house longer and frankly, they will get stinky after a couple of days; 2 - you usually only get to have basic diapers such as prefolds or in rare cases fitteds, I haven't heard of any services that will do different diapers like fitteds and you have no choice of brands; 3 - you normally have to buy and wash your own covers and wipes, if you're using them; 4 - I've heard of many skin irritations because of the detergents they need to use at the industrial level of washing that diaper services do, whereas at home I just use a scent-free, enviro-friendly option that I like.

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#6 of 7 Old 02-12-2013, 10:18 AM
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Also think about accessories, you will probably want a pail liner otherwise you'll have to wash out the pail every time you wash diapers. Some folks like to have two so they can air dry, I have one and put it in the dryer on low, have done that every other day for 2 years now and no issues. Since DD is asleep while I'm washing I don't need a pail then so it's not a problem. And I just use an old step-on diaper can that we had sitting in the basement.


We use regular flannel wipes, I picked a couple of cute flannel patterns in the fabric store and my mom made me wipes from it. I had plans to make them myself with bamboo or sherpa on one side and flannel on the other, but DD arrived early and I didn't have time. But these one layer flannel ones are great, the edges are just rolled and stitched and they are holding up well. I think I have enough for about 4 days, there are probably 40-50 of them. You don't need that many, depending on how often you want to do the wash you probably need about 12 per day plus a few extras in case of a big mess. I very rarely need more than one cloth wipe for a big poop, I'd say less than 10 times in two years, they are very effective. I just keep them folded in half in a stack on the change table and wet them with plain water from a spray bottle (dollar store). You can a little baby wash or whatever but water works great for us. I just spray half of the wipe right before I take off the diaper, so half is wet for wiping and half is dry for drying.


The other thing is a diaper sprayer, but you won't need one till you start solids (and even then I didn't bother till she ate enough of them to change her poop). It's awesome and I wouldn't be without mine. I got mine on craigslist as well.

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#7 of 7 Old 02-12-2013, 10:49 PM
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U can buy fabric and make your own, lots of patterns online!  I love going on cloth diaper swap group on facebook (the group with 19,000+ members) and getting deals on there!  I'm not very crafty :/  When I only had a few diapers, I just used a pillowcase and hung it on the side of my changing table and put wet dipes in that.  WHen I got more dipes and washed every other day, then i got a pail liner that I hang on the side of the changing table instead so it can hang to the floor and pee wont soak through lol.  I use the same detergent that I do for the rest of my families clothes- Ecos free and clear.

Personally I like fitteds with covers for the newborn/small stage, then I start using my one sizes which are the Happy Heinys organic one size pockets with hemp inserts, and my Bumgenius Elemental (organic) one size all in one diapers.  For night time's I do use a polyester fleece pocket (fuzzibunz) so the baby stays dry otherwise they tend to get a rash.

I have a friend who does it much simpler, with flats, snappi's and wool covers.  It's probably more difficult/time consuming but its a little cheaper and its what she prefers!  If u have any friends or neighbors who use cloth, maybe ask to look at their diapers and maybe change their baby a few times to get a feel for what u might prefer.

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