Making a Diaper choice: cloth vs disposable - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're expecting our first baby in April. I'll be home with the baby for nine months and then the baby willl be at a child care center. We are trying to decide about cloth diapers. It sounds so much nicer for the baby but I'm worried about spending all my time with hands in poop. I can't even find a basic website that tells how you clean a poopy cloth diaper and I can't imagine how you do it. Also, what do you do with the cloth diapers when you are travelling? Finally, the cost -- we know we have to go to disposable at child care and it seems like the start up costs for cloth are so high that it only pays if you stick with it which we can only do for 9 months. I'm looking for some input! Thanks.
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#2 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 05:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgquilt
We're expecting our first baby in April. I'll be home with the baby for nine months and then the baby willl be at a child care center. We are trying to decide about cloth diapers. It sounds so much nicer for the baby but I'm worried about spending all my time with hands in poop. I can't even find a basic website that tells how you clean a poopy cloth diaper and I can't imagine how you do it. Also, what do you do with the cloth diapers when you are travelling? Finally, the cost -- we know we have to go to disposable at child care and it seems like the start up costs for cloth are so high that it only pays if you stick with it which we can only do for 9 months. I'm looking for some input! Thanks.
Sounds like what you need is diaper service. We've been using service diapers for three months and it is even easier than disposables. No cleaning of anything, and the diapers are delivered to our door. There are no "hands in poop".

We are just now switching to using and washing our own. Breastfed newborn baby poop is just soooo easy to clean. We don't even dunk or anything - just throw it in the washer. It's nothing like adult poop, really.

Why do you have to do disposable at daycare? It would seem like they would be happy to send diapers home rather than pay to have them hauled away as trash!

Btw, this needs to be moved to diapering....
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#3 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 05:07 PM
 
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First off

Get a big glass of water, put your feet up and go to the diapering forum for a nice long read

I have hardly touched poop at all (no more than any mom has to.... ) as long as babe is breastfed, you just toss them in the washing machine. No big deal. (we haven't started solids yet, but I'm not worried...)

Whe we're out and about I have some nylon bags that I just toss the dirty diapers and wipes in to bring home. Then I dump them in the diaper pail with the rest when I get home. No big deal at all.

Many daycare centers will do cloth now. There's no reason not to, and it's so much better for the babe! Which would you rather sit in for the first couple of years of life? Soft, cozy cloth? Or scratchy, crunchy paper/plastic/chemicals? What's your underwear made from?

Good luck!

-Angela
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#4 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 05:14 PM
 
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Oh, Oh!! Good for you for thinking about this! And for asking!! Cloth is so easy, really! I didn't do cloth with #1, didn't really give it much thought actually... I only really started considering it when #2 came along and I realized how much money we were spending on diapers for 2. Now I look back and SO wish I had done it from the start.

I never have my hands in poop. Actually, less so than if I used disposies, since disposies are so much more susceptible to blowing out - I very rarely have blowouts with cloth.

Here is a good site that talks about the basics of cloth... it's a little overwhelming, but a very good overview. She touches on everything...

http://www.geocities.com/gagenmaddiesma/diapering.html

And, you'd be surprised how many daycare centers will accept cloth, as long as they are AIO's (All in One's) - they are as easy or easier than disposies!

Personally, we usually do get the paper diapers when travelling, but I know some people do cloth, too... I am just not organized enough of a traveler to add that to my list of things :

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions!

Good luck! Congrats on your pregnancy!
Jenny
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#5 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 05:23 PM
 
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Is there anywhere in your town that offers cloth diapering classes? We live in a pretty crunchy city and both the hospital and an independent baby store in town offered free classes.

You could look into a diaper service for the first few weeks and see how you like it. However, we found that homewash prefolds work really well for us. (It helped that our hospital used cloth diapers so we could get some practice first!) Our Chinese prefolds were only about $2 apiece, and we got great covers for $8 each. We have 18 prefolds, a couple of Snappis to hold the diaper closed, and 5 covers, plus 6 kissaluv fitted diapers. I wash dipes every other day. It seems like a big financial investment, but we were spending like $15 bucks a week with disposables as well as hauling all that junk to the curb. DS sleeps through the night right now so we use disposables overnight, so he doesn't wake up cuz his diaper is wet.

I think cloth diapers are much cleaner to change, too. The poop seems to stick better to them than to the paper diapers. Plus I can use the cloth to wipe DS bottom and cut down on using wipes.

As for traveling, if we go somewhere just for a few hours we put the dirties in the waterproof bag that came with our diaper bag. If we go somewhere longer than that we use paper. There's nothing that says you can't use a mix to suit your needs.

At the beginning babies grow so quickly that we used paper until DS could fit into premium-size prefolds (for us, that was 8 weeks). Eventually babies get so big that you either need to buy the next size up or start doubling up your diapers (depending on whether your baby is a heavy wetter). By the time your DC gets to 9 months you might need to buy a bigger/more absorbent cloth diaper, so at that point you could just switch to disposables instead.

Finally, for cleaning our diapers I do a prewash setting with cold water and just enough detergent (a free and clear detergent such as All or Tide) to cover the bottom of the cap. Then I wash on the longest and hottest setting with about a quarter cup of detergent and baking...soda or powder, the stuff that comes in the box, not the can (can't ever remember which is which). It's worked well for us.

I know this was long, but it is kind of hard to explain it all in a posting. Can you find a local class, or maybe someone local who CDs and can help you get started?
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#6 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 05:38 PM
 
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welcome! definitely check out the diapering forum for way more info than you ever need to know about cloth.

then, forget what you've read there about whatever the hyenas are after, and get some cheapo prefolds and wrap covers (if money is the main concern).

I've done both, sposies and cloth. I can honestlly compare the two.

sposies:
  • cost a fortune! I was spending over $100 every month on diapers and wipes because of my DD's skin sensitivities I couldn't use the cheap kind.
  • stink! Way stinkier than cloth. have to take the trash out at least once every day to get the stink out of your house.
  • leak! If you are worried about your hands being in poop, don't get sposies. Those newborn poopy blowouts will go up baby's back and down baby's legs in sposies.
  • chemicals in disposable diapers can be irritating to sensitive baby skin, and some are thought to be extremely toxic
  • not to mention the environmental impact of so many diapers in landfills


I wash laundry every day anyway, one more load is no big deal. If I were still using sposies, I'd still have to take the stinky dipes outside. No more work to carry them down to the washer instead.
cloth does not irritate my daughter's sensitive skin, does not give her rashes like disposable diapers did.

we had no problem taking cloth diapers on road trip with us (not exactly vacation...)
Until you've had a dirty sposie baking in the trunk of your car in the summertime, you don't know what STINK really is!!

DH complains about having to rinse the poop out of the diapers. That is his one and only argument against them. We got a minishower (it's really a bidet attachment for the toilet) and never have to touch the poop, just hose it off into the toilet.

I am buying a car (well, a really good downpayment anyway) with the money I would have spent on disposable diapers over the last three years...
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#7 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 05:39 PM
 
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We use both cloth and disposables. Disposables for day care, travel, overnight, and fumble-fingered relatives (i.e. my sister!), and cloth the rest of the time. I do outings with cloth and just bring a plastic bag for the used one.

It doesn't have to cost a fortune. We bought the cheapest kind of cloth - plain old pre-folds, 24 of them (and got some of these as a shower gift plus wraps - we put this on our list) and we have about six wraps ($7 or so each.) Diapers are really expensive, so we are definitely coming out ahead, even doing this "part time."

Go to the FAQ section of the diapering forum. There's a great summary of how to wash diapers. It's so quick and easy - really - and not gross or smelly at all. (Believe me - your level of what you consider gross will completely change with a baby anyway, between poops and throw-ups and snot!)
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#8 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 06:02 PM
 
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My daycare uses cloth. We use Fuzzibunz for daycare, which are a little on the expensive side, but we waited to buy them until he was a size medium and would wear that size for a while (he has been in mediums for a year now and has lots of room left to grow). Before he wore medium fuzzibunz he was not in daycare anyway, so we used prefolds and also kissaluvs.
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#9 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 06:24 PM
 
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And don't feel bad if you choose to use disposables; it does not make you a bad momma. We've recently switched from CDs to disposables because as DD is eating more solids, her poop is getting a lot nastier. CDing is very easy when it's just BF poop.
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#10 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 07:19 PM
 
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This is the best website I've found if you are new to cd'ing:

DiaperCo

I wish I had started sooner! I started at about 8 weeks. It really is much easier than it seems. And with a dry pail, you never touch poo or dirty water. It is amazing how breastfed babies' poo comes right out of cloth diapers without staining.

You only need an inital investment of about $150 in cloth diapers. I only do one load a day. If you figure you will spend about $20 a week on disposables, you are saving money in nine months for sure! It would cost you about $720 for nine months of sposies. At around $150 for cloth diapers you can use over and over, with an occasional bag of sposies thrown in for travel or whatnot, you might spend only $300 in nine months.

Good luck!
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#11 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 07:36 PM
 
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I know I'm the oddball, but... :

I started out with cloth for DD. I spent a fortune on diapers, was very dedicated and excited about cloth diapering. So what happened? She got horrible diaper rash. I couldn't believe it! The whole reason I chose to cloth diaper was because I believed it was best for the baby. My pediatrician suggested I switch to sposies to clear up the rash, so we did. Guess what? Cleared right up and she's never had a rash since.

If you decide to cloth diaper from the start, I have a whole stash of kissaluvs I could sell you.

We use Huggies that we buy in bulk from Costco. It is $30 for 223 diapers.

Monica, mama to Olivia (6)
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#12 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 07:40 PM
 
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Another cloth diapering resource is:

www.diaperpin.com -- they have info on how to "do" cloth & reviews of many of the different types of diapers along with links to company sites.

Don't get overwhelmed. There are a ton of mamas who make dipes, but plain old prefolds & covers work just fine. We have all types, and honestly I've seriously considered changing to just prefolds & wool for the day, plus Fuzzibunz for nights & outings.

We travel w/ cloth & it really is fine. We have 2 extra large, waterproof pail liner bags that zip close. One gets filled w/ clean dipes, the other w/ dirty. We keep a peri bottle filled w/ water and some cloth wipes handy as well. We're only usually gone a couple days so I just wash when we get home. No reason you couldn't go to a laundry though if you were on a longer trip.

I'd search the diaper forum for specific questions, and the TP here is a great source for used dipes.

Good luck!
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#13 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 07:46 PM
 
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As far as hands in poop, if you choose cloth diapers, get the paper liners once your babe is eating solids. They lift right off and can be flushed. Diaperaps.com has the kind that are ok for septic tanks. I prefer their covers to any others on the market, and they're much cheaper than many.

At the moment I am using sposies because I needed a break and I'm going away for a few days. I have to say I don't find them that expensive ($8 for a package of 31 huggies diapers) nor do I use as many as would add up to many cloth diapering advocate's claims. They are definitely not as environmentally friendly, but they have also come a long way in efficiency and materials. I have tried a few kinds of sposies and I have to say the kinds at the health food store simply don't work as well as huggies. And people I have asked who use sposies use huggies too. If you use disposables please, please make the effort and put the poop in the toilet. That's really the worst aspect of sposies, that waste is going into landfills instead of the sewer/septic systems.

I still prefer cloth- ordinary prefolds and diaperaps work great. I get one dozen covers of each size, because I don't like to launder more than once weekly. The covers can go in with a regular warm wash, therefore the diapering only creates one extra load per week.
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#14 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 07:54 PM
 
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#15 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 08:03 PM
 
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Be sure to avoid using the full amount of detergent. It can irritate babies bum. Use only 1/4 of a scoop.
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#16 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 10:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diaper_Addict_Jen
Be sure to avoid using the full amount of detergent. It can irritate babies bum. Use only 1/4 of a scoop.
definitely!

Monika, by any chance, did you ever try stripping the detergent out of your diapers? Did you try using an unscented detergent? Did you try going coverless, or using a breathable (fleece or wool) cover? When cloth causes problems, it is usually either from the laundry detergent or artificial fibers (if your dipes aren't 100% cotton).

Liz - you are right. The only reason I was spending so much on sposies is that I'm the anal sort of person who has to change the diaper immediately every time baby pees in it. I just can't leave my baby sitting in her own waste, not for one minute. She would also scream her head off when her diaper got wet (yet another sign of irritation, even without the rash - didn't happen any more once we switched to cloth), so I was going through tons of diapers every day. PLUS I had to use Huggies Supreme and their ultra? wipes because everything else I tried irritated my DD's bottom. It got very expensive, very fast.

to the op - I don't know if this link still works, but when I switched to cloth, it was my inspiration! (besides the diapering forum here at mdc)
http://www.geocities.com/cyndiegran/diapertext2.html

and this is another good website:
http://www.thediaperhyena.com/
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#17 of 26 Old 01-31-2005, 10:25 PM
 
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You've gotten lots of helpful tips from other posters. I didn't make the decision to cloth diaper until I was about 6 months pregnant. I was ecstatic to learn that you could just toss all the early breastfed poo dipes in the wash. Now that my dd has started solids, we bought a minishower that attaches to the toilet to spray off the dipes. It makes cleaning up the one messy dipe a day much easier---even my DH will spray off a dipe!

If daycare won't use cloth, you can still put your sweet babe right back into cloth diapers when you're at home and on the weekends. There are lots of options out there, but it is just as easy to choose the simple basics that will take you through many, many months of diapering.

Follow some of the great links people posted---it was stumbling across the diapering board here that convinced me to CD and it has really been worth it!

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#18 of 26 Old 02-01-2005, 01:07 AM
 
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Where do you all get the mini-showers for the toilet?? My dd is just starting solids and I need to get one of those (for dh!! That's his one complaint, too) Can I buy them at a hardware store, or is it a cloth diaper thing??
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#19 of 26 Old 02-01-2005, 08:33 AM
 
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Also cloth diapers can often be found at consignment and resale shops, along with covers. I've also gotten lots of diapers from friends no longer diapering.

 









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#20 of 26 Old 02-01-2005, 09:15 AM
 
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Don't forget the trading post and ebay. Nearly my entire stash is either homemade(by a momma from the diapering board) or bought on ebay. Kissaluvs and sugarpeas have outlet stores where you can buy irregulars to save money. I'm LOVING my xs fuzzi bunz on my 3 1/2week old daughter and hoping to move to entirely fuzzi bunz when she outgrows her kissaluvs because they are so easy. On and off like a disposable, washes out easily and dries SO fast. Even my mainstream, disposable everything hubby likes fuzzi bunz. I'd be surprised if daycares don't accept them. Maybe they think they'd have to fold and pin and use plastic pants. Educate yourself and then them on how far cloth diapering has come. Maybe buying one or two or a few different diapers and showing the diapers to them would change their minds. If you bring in a diaper pail with a tight fitting lid and all the diapers, it's no harder than sposies. You have to take it off, throw diaper int he pail. They wouldn't even have to haul out the garbage since you would be coming to take home the bag of dirties everyday anyway. LESS work for them in my opinion. I LOVE my cloth diapers. I'm obsessed! Even my husband is feeling the cloth love! (I love my husband!) Definitely choose cloth. We haven't had one poop blowout yet with my daughter. With dd#1, we had constant poop blowouts while she was in sposies. When we went to cloth, NONE! I was up to my ears(as was she) in poop while we did sposies. Nothing in cloth. Washing is very very simple. We wash once a day. We do a cold wash first with no detergent, then a hot wash with 1/4amount of detergent(we use Purex because it's the cheapest at Wal-Mart. we have a strict budget) and then a cold rinse at the end to remove all detergent(it can build up on diapers and decrease absorbency). In the first cold wash I soometimes add some tea tree oil to disinfect the diapers just a ltitle more(and because I REALLY like the smell!!! he he he). But it's so simple. I then transfer to the diaper. Covers(wool, fleece, and PUL) I don't like to dry, even on low heat, so I hang them on the drying rack. Fuzzibunz have the waterproof cover also so I hang them on the drying rack. Kissaluvs and homemade stuff that are just fitteds go in the dryer on high heat for an hour and they are done. They stuff on the rack takes about 1/2hour to dry completely. Liners and prefolds(I stuff my fuzzi bunz with prefolds, I don't use them as diapers) go in the dryer with the fitteds. I have no aio's except for the fuzzi bunz though most websites say they've had no problem drying them on low heat in the dryer. To go out, I bring fuzzi bunz usually but if they aren't available I just bring a few fitteds and a PUL cover. To store dirties, I have a wetbag. It's homemade. Just a waterproof piece of fabric(it came from a bag that stored a tent my dd got for christmas!) sewed into a bag shape with some velcro clumsily sewn at the top. I put my dirty wipes and diapers in there and throw everything in the washer when I get home(or the diaper pail depending on when I'm ready to wash). No stink in the diaper bag because it velcros closed. At home, we have a rubbermaid push-button lid trash can from Wal-Mart for like $5. My 4 year old loves to push the button and throw the diaper in with a flourish(think basketball star!). We wash every day so we have no problem with stink unless you open the pail and stink your sniffer right in there! It's in our bedroom so we'd notice if it stunk. BF baby poop washes right out. I've heard some people liken it to yogurt. Okay, fine. All i know is that it washes out without any hassle. As long as there's no poop on the diaper when I put it on dd's butt, I'm happy. We have no stains. If soemthing is stained after washing, I hang it on the deck in the sunlight(we are in north carolina and it's about 20-40degrees daily here and not always sunny) for an hour or so and the stain is gone. No bleach, no oxyclean, nothing.
so as you see, diapers really aren't that hard to deal with. We are loving our cloth. My hsuband was very against cloth from the start. He said he'd not change any diapers or he'd go buy sposies for when he changed her. He actually has changed quite a few diapers and needs no help. I showed him once and he got it. Of course I dont' let him do laundry but he still really enjoys putting soft cloth on Sara's hiney. Even said yesterday, "you know Meg, these cloth things aren't too bad." That's gold as compliments go from him!
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#21 of 26 Old 02-01-2005, 04:34 PM
 
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I bought our minishower from Heiny King, but have heard that some people are handy enough to fashion their own from hardware store supplies. I like that this one has an adjustable pressure so I'm not overspraying the messy stuff.

I also second looking to the trading post to find things you want to try or even to build a stash with or trade up for larger sizes.

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#22 of 26 Old 02-02-2005, 12:44 AM
 
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I use cloth exclusively nowdays, but when DS was born I just couldn't do it. I had a completely rebuilt perineum after a nasty tear. I screamed bloody murder when I had to bend over to load the dryer. Therefore, I did use sposies for the first 2 weeks or so. Huggies had the least amount of stink from added perfumes. Pampers reeked of artificial fragrance.

Just something to consider if DH/DP won't touch diaper laundry.
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#23 of 26 Old 02-02-2005, 03:56 PM
 
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my daycare has cloth diaper service. i just have to supply the wraps and 'go home diapers' and ds gets cloth diaps all day

i had diaper service when i was home but cancelled it when i went back to work. i use 7th gen disposables because i was feeling too overwhelmed when i went back to work to deal with washing diapers at home. and the diaper service seemed expensive for the few diaps we would use at home each weekday

now that ds is getting older and i don't feel so stressed out i think i might go buy some cloth diaps for the weekends. i like the 7th gen sposies though. they don't feel plasticy and are really absorbant
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#24 of 26 Old 02-02-2005, 04:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dumpsterdivamama
Where do you all get the mini-showers for the toilet?? My dd is just starting solids and I need to get one of those (for dh!! That's his one complaint, too) Can I buy them at a hardware store, or is it a cloth diaper thing??
I think you might find one at a hardware store locally. I bought mine from an internet biz, but can't remember which one. They are just like the hand held sprayers that attach to kitchen sinks, with an on/off valve at the wall. If you search (either mdc or google) for "mini shower" you should find loads and loads of information!
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#25 of 26 Old 02-02-2005, 08:28 PM
 
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Another CD-ing mama here. I started CD-ing my three year old when he was just 18 months old. No big deal, piece of cake. I enjoyed knowing I was doing what I thought was the best for him. He potty trained at 2 years and 51 weeks. :LOL We have CD'd our youngest since birth and it was no more work than disposables, and it's so much more awesome when I don't have to "run to the store" and buy more stuff. Can't type much more, kids need me.
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#26 of 26 Old 02-03-2005, 03:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stafl
Monika, by any chance, did you ever try stripping the detergent out of your diapers? Did you try using an unscented detergent? Did you try going coverless, or using a breathable (fleece or wool) cover? When cloth causes problems, it is usually either from the laundry detergent or artificial fibers (if your dipes aren't 100% cotton).
I used Cheer Free detergent (No perfumes), and hardly any of it (I have a front loading machine), and added 2 extra rinse cycles when washing. I only ever used Kissaluvs fitted or contours with Nikky wool covers. I changed her CONSTANTLY.

I probably could have tried different detergents to see if it would help, but when my baby had a sore bum all I wanted was to help her heal NOW, KWIM? I felt like a horrible mother that my babe was only 2 weeks old and already had a horrible rash.

I really don't think it was the detergent, I think it was just because she was wetting so much and having the moisture against her skin.

Monica, mama to Olivia (6)
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