Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yes I am cloth diapering this baby!

My method: a prefold diaper in a cover.
image: www.omahababystore.com
The main reason why I love cloth diapering is that I love knowing that my baby's diapers are not going to sit in the landfill! The way that I wash diapers once a week is ABSOLUTELY more environmentally sound than disposable diapers. Of course it is also nice to know that my little one's skin does not have the carcinogenic bleaches and chemicals rubbing against her sensitive genitals. Both of my kids were out of daytime diapers at 18 months and I attribute this to them "feeling" wet in their cotton cloth diapers (and some reading that I had done about early potty training).

Act I: The Diaper Service

When my first baby was born in our little NYC apartment (no washer/dryer), we used a diaper service for the first 6 months. It seemed nice because we didn't have to deal with the laundry or the up front investment of diapers. The diaper service only used the prefold style of diapers pictured above. Once a week I would put a plastic bag of dirty diapers outside my apartment door and the service would replace it with a plastic bag of clean diapers. Here is what I learned from the diaper service:

  • It is okay for dirty diapers to sit a week in a plastic bag (websites everywhere tell you to wash them every 2-3 days).
  • The heavy duty "prefolds" that the diaper service use are easy if you pre-fold them in the shape that you need.
  • The covers are very easy to hand wash (since I didn't have a washer) or throw in the cold wash weekly.
  • I loved 100% cotton was against my baby's skin. Other types of modern cloth diapers (like the "all in ones" and "inserts" are synthetic fleece).
  • The diaper service was using bleach and I did not want that up against my baby.
  • $20 per week is way too much money to pay for diapers. This is what I was paying so I entered Act II below.

Act II: G-Diapers

Friends had told me about "G-Diapers" that appeared to be like the prefolds that the diaper service was using except that instead of having to collect and wash the prefolded fabric, you would use and flush a pad that fit in the diaper cover. I had heard from experienced moms and read about how they work best once the child starts solid foods and has solid waste so we waited until the 6 month mark. This system was ingenious for us because our building had industrial toilets that could handle the load and it made diapering really easy. It also cost half the price of the diaper service and I didn't have to remember to put diapers out on a certain day. Then we went away for 2 weeks and used disposables and got a diaper rash that just would not easily go away. I was using un-natural creams with all sorts of chemicals that I did not want to be using. I realized that the best thing for my baby would be to have that nice 100% cotton of cloth diapering against her skin so we moved on to Act III below and ditched the diaper creams.


Act III: Cloth Diapering at the Laundromat

Since I loved the 100% cotton prefolds (instead of the synthetic modern fleece diapers), I stocked up a supply of prefolds and was shocked at how inexpensive they are! I quickly learned that you MUST buy the more expensive heavy duty laundry service quality prefolds. I used basic covers like the Prowraps and Thirsties. I let my diapers build up for a week in a plastic like at the diaper service then I took them to the laundromat (in the stroller with my other laundry while baby-wearing my baby). The machines were so big and hot that I never did any special rinses. Just a hot wash with half the detergent worked perfect and I never had to strip my diapers (like I do now that I have hard water in the suburbs; and I now have to do those rinse cycles!).

Why am I Cloth Diapering with Prefolds and Covers for a 3rd Time?

I love prefold diapers and I think that they are highly underrated in the modern cloth diapering world. The modern "all in one" and "insert" diapers are made of synthetic fabrics, take a long time to air dry, are expensive (about $18 each) and can only be used once per washing thus making it financially impossible to have a week's supply. Since you cannot have a huge supply, you are doing laundry every 2-3 days (which is what is recommended anyways). I have other things to do in life and want to do my diapers just once a week so prefolds are great for me. I reuse the covers until they are dirty then toss them in my regular cold wash laundry (although I hand washed them in the city to make my 3-4 covers last all week). After doing laundry, I fold the prefolds in thirds so they are ready to insert in a cover at diapering time. It is then just like putting panties and a pad on the baby; no diaper pins or clips are used in my house! When we have a babysitter, I put the prefold already in the diaper and they change the diaper just like a disposable. It is very easy! Everyone thinks that my diapers must smell. Breastfed only diapers do not smell. When babies start solids, the urine and bowels do start to smell but you flush the bowel down the drain and a good diaper pail will keep the odors out.


Edited to add:
There are details on how to wash and fold prefold diapers now on my blog! They are still my favorite!



13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Replies
    1. Congrats on your pregnancy! When babies start solids, their bowels become solid and stinky. These bowels should be flushed down the toilet whether you are using cloth diapers or disposables. These bowels tend not to stick to fleece which is why some parents prefer the fleece diapers. Here are some ways to make solid waste go away from your cotton diapers: (1) You could put a piece of fleece (cheap at the material store) or a flushable paper liner on top of your cotton prefold diaper. (2) Give the diaper and swirl in the toilet -- this works for me most of the time when the bowels were not completely solid. (3) Buy a diaper spray hose that attaches easily to your toilet so you can spray away the bowels.

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    2. I just see that this post was removed by someone (who?!) other than me! The original question was asking how to deal with bowels. Newborn bowels do not need to be rinsed out of the diapers. They amazingly rinse right out in the wash!

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  2. There are some of the natural baby care products that you can easily buy for your babies. Honest company reviews are useful for all mothers so that they can care of their babies properly.

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  3. Great blog. I think I'm sold on the pre-folds. I'm pregnant with baby #4 and this will be the first time I do cloth diapering :) I'm excited.

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    Replies
    1. Yay, congrats and let us know how your diapering goes! You might need support until you figure out what works with your washing machine.

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  4. Can you recommend a brand for the prefolds, you said "the expensive ones" but I am not sure what that means. Also, which is your preferred cove?r and do you have to buy multiple sizes or are they adjustable I am expecting my first and would like to use cloth; I originally looked into g-diapers but they are pretty expensive at every stage of growth. Also, do these work on newborns or do you need a different kind of diaper for that stage? Thank you!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley. When I first bought my covers the adjustable sizes were not out. For this reason I own newborn, small and medium sizes. I potty train at 18 months so that is all we need. I own many brand covers including prowraps, Bummi, Bumkins and Thirsties. I like the Bummi fabric the best but it doesn't matter. There are many great brands out there. When I did this article and wanted to see a current price, I found a great price at http://www.cottonbabies.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=89. Prefolds do range in price depending on if they are organic and what country they are made in. I have to confess that mine are just unbleached and this sort of laundry-serivce grade. Good luck and congratulations on your baby!

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  5. I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me, 
    and I am completely satisfied with your website. 
    All comments and articles are very useful and very good.
    Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in.
    turn you are sharing with each one!….

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me, 
    and I am completely satisfied with your website. 
    All comments and articles are very useful and very good.
    Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in.
    turn you are sharing with each one!….

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi! I'm thinking about using covers and prefolds when my baby comes. I just started building my batch of diapers, and since I too want to do laundy just once a week, I wanted to ask you if dirty prefolds (cotton) really hold well for a week in a pail or wetbag, without getting slowly damaged or smelly even after washing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Instead of using disposal diapers, now days new mothers are starting using cloth diapers. Here from this article, we can get the benefits of cloth diapers, but in my point of view cloth diapers are quite tough to wash and maintain in comparison to disposal diapers.
    Baby Diaper

    ReplyDelete