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#1 of 3 Old 08-15-2013, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The Dirt on Diapers
Mama Rudy's Cloth Diaper Run Down
I think I'm a little ashamed of how much I know about diapers.  I've spent the last 3-4 years changing diapers, cleaning diapers, researching diapers, and experimenting with diapers.  I wanted to share what I've discovered with the new mamas out there so that we might all be happier people, because "if mama ain't happy - nobody happy." Right?
I used cloth diapers with my two kids.  It was both a financial and environmental choice for my family.  Financially everyone wants to buy things for the baby in the beginning.  When I was registering for baby showers I wanted my guests to help my family invest in cloth diapers.  They are more expensive to start with but you'll save money for years afterward.   When I started looking at cloth while I was first pregnant, I remember being overwhelmed...
 Pocket, Fitted, One size, or All-in-One -- How is a mama to know!?
The Anatomy of a Diaper:
A good diaper has three parts: A waterproof outer layer, an absorbent middle, and a soft fleecy lining against the baby's skin.
1. The Cover - Three basic styles, lots of names!  Most basic is an unlined diaper cover.  This is a single layer of waterproof fabric with snaps or Velcro to secure it to the baby bum.  The next kind are diaper covers with a pocket for an absorbent middle and a sewn-in liner of fleece.  And the last are all-in-ones where all three layers are sewn in together. These different covers can cost from $15 - $30 each.
 2. The Absorbent Layer - there are two basic types: the old "prefolds," which are basically just a square of cloth with stitched fold lines, or the newer terry cloth liner (like a little pad of towel-like material), which is usually included with a pocket-style diaper.  The prefolds are cheap ($1.50 -$5 each) and come in cotton, organic, bamboo, hemp, and more.  Both types are used with a complimentary style of diaper covers.
3. The last layer of a diaper's anatomy is technically optional but an essential in my family. This is a great law of diaper nature to learn: Cotton absorbs and feels wet on the skin; fleece does not absorb, but wicks moisture away from the skin and will provide a "dry" layer between baby's skin and the wet cotton diaper.  Wool has a similar effect and is attractive if you want to have all natural fibers. With an unlined cover I use squares of polar fleece that are the same size as the prefold diaper. I checked the remnants section of the fabric store and found a piece for around $5 that I was able to cut 9 squares of fleece out of.  When I change diapers, I fold the cloth diaper in three, and then fold the fleece around it.  This fleece layer also keeps the moisture away from the edges of the diaper cover, helping to prevent leakage.  This is my favorite kind of diaper (the lined covers are great – the moisture is drawn away from the baby – but the edges of the diaper still feel damp and it can kind of seep out onto baby's cotton clothes).
Here it is for you visual learners:
You should flip the folded and wrapped diaper over when you put it in the cover, so there is an unbroken protective barrier for baby's bum.
Here is a smaller version
Things to keep in mind:
Size Options:
There are small, med, or large sizes -- or the "one size fits all" idea.   I recommend the kind that adjust to fit many sizes of baby.  Less to buy, longer life.
There are many different brands of diaper out there.  You can buy some brands online, but you can also often find diapers at new or used baby stores, or acquire hand-me-downs.  I have a batch of dipes that have seen so many bums that the brand names are worn off completely!
Different brands fit differently.  A new mom should buy/borrow one or two of a few different brands to find the one she likes best for her particular baby before investing in a whole set.  I wish this was something you could do before your baby is born but you have to meet that little bum before you know how a diaper will fit on it.  We were given disposable diapers at our baby shower and used those in the beginning while I was experimenting with different covers. I also asked my mom to hold off on her big gift to the baby until I had chosen which set of diapers I wanted to invest in.
If you are going to go all the way and use no disposables, I would still recommend that you use them for the first few days because the black muconium poo can be hard to wash out of things.
Lavender Essential oil in the wipes or diaper pail is great.  Smells good and is antibacterial too.
 Snaps are better then Velcro on covers. REALLY! The Velcro gets ratty and caught on everything in the laundry.  It gets scratchy on the edges and will irritate active baby's skin unless they are wearing pants.  Who can keep pants on a baby in the summer? You'd cover up that cute diaper bum!
 Brands: I can personally recommend Wonderoos, and Bum Genius are great.  Gdiapers can be used with all cloth or with their little liners. Gdiapers are a decent cover, though better for a bum on the small side. Fuzzi Bunz: my only complaint is that you aren't supposed to use diaper cream with these diapers- it doesn't really wash out.
Snappis : These work like they are designed.  They "wear out" after 6 months and could break.  I stopped using them because the fleece was easier, and didn't involve introducing a sharp thing into the fray of flailing legs.  Other folks might like them, though.  They are worth a try, and perhaps more useful if your little one's bum is on the small side.
All around, my favorite is.... Blueberries!  They make a great cover.  Quality construction and the right shape for my big-bummed baby.  The reason they are the best for your money is that their diapers are adjustable from 15 lbs to 40 lbs.  Yeah!  My kids have worn the same diaper covers for the entirety of their diapered lives. Check them out and see how they do it-
Keep an eye out for this kind of snapping pattern because they're not the only ones.  And remember that while this particular picture example has Velcro closures at the top, Blueberries makes them with snaps, too, and snaps are the better option.
Bert's Bees has the best diaper cream. Hands down.
Breastfeeding recommends: 
Reusable nursing pads – the same absorbent layer and stay dry layer idea is present here, where one side is soft cotton and the other is a thin layer of a blend fabric - it's fashionable too!
Also, if you are having trouble nursing, get help!  Find a local La Leche League, or check with where you delivered your baby.  Listen to advice with a grain of salt and use what feels right for you and your baby! Leave behind advice that doesn't feel right and thank them for their ideas.  Keep asking questions.  Remember that only a generation ago women were told not to breastfeed their children by medical professionals.  A lot was lost that should be more natural for us.  We are making great strides forward with breastfeeding support and awareness.  When it comes to the act itself, every baby and every mama are a different combination.  Just like any new skill, it might take work to learn, but it is one of the most profound and rewarding things I've done.
What do I need to get started?
Checklist for your diaper stash:
6-8 covers for newborn/infants, 4-6 covers for larger sizes - minimum (you'll be doing laundry every other day) I have around 15-20 covers and do laundry once a week. I recommend having a 2 to 1 ratio for cotton absorbent diapers to covers.  Sometimes you'll double up (overnight) and sometimes you can just replace the cotton part of the diaper and use the cover again.
Diaper pail (or no pail if using a door hanging pail)
2 diaper pail liners (one for use while the other is in the wash)
1-2 Snappi diaper fasteners (necessary only for diapering systems requiring fasteners)
2 wet bags (one for use while the other is in the wash)
2 dozen cloth wipes or disposables
 Laundry:
I wash my dipes once a week, hot, and dry medium, or line dry in the summer.  I use OxiClean, plus the normal detergent.
Accessories -
Diaper Pail (and 2 liners)
mini shower diaper sprayer – I don't have one but always wanted one
Some detergents can leave residue and make the diapers leak. Never use fabric softer! Some water conditions can cause build up too- Calgone Seems to be the recommend for that.
Recommended Detergents are:
Allen's Naturally Powder /Liquid
Country Save Powder/Liquid
Planet Ultra Powder/Liquid
Planet 2X Ultra
Mountain Green Free & Clear
Mountain Green Free & Clear Baby
Tide Free
Water usage:
Some folks have made the point that cloth diapering might not really be a better environmental option because of the water and energy that is used to clean the diapers.  This is a valid point.  Resources are consumed one way or another.  You'll have to make your decision yourself.
Solid Poo:
Here's the shit on the poo. Breast milk poo just comes out in the wash, no pre-spraying or soaking really required.  So there is incentive to breastfeed for a longer time! When you start feeding the baby solids, the poops have to be removed from the diapers before they go into the wash.  Personally I'm not afraid of poop and often just grabbed or wiped the material into the toilet with some TP.  Yes I got some on me sometimes. But that happens at a disposable diaper change sometimes too.  Yes, Diaper Wash Day is a stinky event and perhaps there are methods that smell better.
I am continuing to experiment, but honestly I'm ready to be done with diapers altogether!  Three cheers for going on the potty!
Thanks for reading my dirt on diapers.  Check out www.mamarudy.com for more blogs about parenting and life.
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#2 of 3 Old 08-30-2013, 07:53 AM
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Hi Rudymama

Welcome to Mothering! Thanks for sharing :) I am bumping up your post.


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#3 of 3 Old 08-30-2013, 08:30 AM
 
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Great post!! I am a FTM expecting my first in a month and still getting my bearings when it comes to CDing. This was super helpful, especially the part about fleece liners (hadn't read that one before) and using TWO wet bags instead of one... I have one large hanging wet bag + a couple mediums (for diaper bag) but I guess I hadn't thought about what I was going to do while the big one was in the wash! 


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