OK, so I HAD to share the most useful email I've received in a long, long while. One of my sweet readers, Chevonne wrote me the most perfect intro to Cloth Diapering I have ever seen.
First, a little background... with my first pregnancy, we tried to be as green as we possibly could. Of course, I knew about cloth diapering, my mom even cloth diapered and used a washing service, but I really did not know how popularized and available it really was. We'd seen the hybrid diapers (Gdiapers) at our health food store and tried those. We liked them, but did not love them. I never realized how many modern mamas out there were cloth diapering until I connected with so many of you through the blogging world. Soon I realized that anyone who CD's was a die hard fan. There had to be something to it, more than the so-called hassle of cleaning the diapers, something that really led everyone to absolutely and whole heartedly love it. So I decided to try it out and go all in this time around.
If you remember this post, I mentioned I was going to try and cloth diaper baby #3 and I asked if any other cloth diapering mamas had any advice. In the little research that I have done, cloth diapering in it's entirety can be very overwhelming. There are so many options, varieties and techniques surrounding the CD world, that honestly, it can be very easy to give up and throw in the towel. To my delight, so many of you cloth diapering veterans have reached out and offered to help in any way. One of the special CD connoisseurs, my girl Chevonne, really went the extra mile to break it all down for me.
Here's a little bio from Chevonne herself.
- 33 years old
- Lives in Comox, British Columbia, Canada
- Married since '05
- 2 kids - Ewan Lloyd, born April 2, 2008 & Sela (that's SEE-la) Frances, born July 17, 2010 (so we're almost hitting 20 mos CDing)
- Cloth diapered Sela since birth, Ewan for night time
- I am an Admin for our Island Cloth Diaper Forum on FB
- Participated in the Great Cloth Diaper Change in 2011, will be doing so in 2012 (I can get links to locations & dates as well as this is now done globally)
- BFing Sela for almost 20 months, and am an avid baby wearer.
Ok, to read the AMAZE email she sent me and to link up your own blog posts on cloth diapering, follow the jump :)
After I gushed about what a wonderful email this was, I asked her,"What brand do you use for your pocket diapers and prefolds?" Then I got MORE info!
Hey Maryam;I'm about to inundate you with LOADS of information about cloth diapering - most of it will help you navigate around cloth diaper sites so you know what the items are that they're talking about and what will maybe work for you.How big are your babies at birth, generally? Mine are on the bigger side - Ewan was 9 lbs, Sela was 8 lbs & so I could start cloth basically from birth; but AFTER all the meconium is gone, cause that will wreak havoc on your diapers, staining and some meconium will just NOT come out. I generally don't recommend brands per se because everyone likes different things BUT I can't say enough good things about Applecheeks Size 1 for a newborn, they fit and work SO well from 8 lbs to about 11 or 12. They were the only ones that fit her properly & have a front snap-down feature so the waistband doesn't rub on their umbilical cord stump.OK, here goes!!First, just an intro to all the terms and types used in cloth diapering:Cloth diapers come in an array of varieties. Most common are:
flats -- Large, rectangular (much like a receiving blanket) Only 1 layer, and is folded to create absorbency. Requires a fastener and a cover. They are cheap and versatile. These are your grandma's cloth diapers.
prefolds -- Rectangular, with many layers sewn together, typically with extra layers down the center. Requires a fastener and a cover. Cheap and versatile.
contour -- basically an hourglass shaped prefold. Requires a fastener and a cover.
fitted -- shaped like a disposable, including elastic around waist and legs. Most close either with applix (velcro) or snaps. Requires a cover.
pocket -- a waterproof outer (no cover needed), a stay-dry fleece or suede cloth inner, with a gap or "pocket" to insert an absorbent material. Most fasten with either aplix (velcro) or snaps.
all-in-one (AIOs) -- Most resembles a disposable diaper. As the name suggests, it is all in one piece. Waterproof outer, absorbent material sewn into the middle, and a stay-dry lining against baby. Most fasten with either aplix (velcro) or snaps.
all-in-two(AI2) -- A combination of a waterproof cover that can combined with replaceable inserts. For most diaper changes, you only need to replace the insert, and not the cover.
Hybrid -- An AI2 style diaper, with the option of using cloth or biodegradable disposable inserts.
Other vocab terms:
insert -- the absorbant part that goes into a pocket diaper. Typically made 4 or more layers of material (most commonly microfiber or hemp). Most pocket diapers come with an insert.
doubler -- usually 2 layers of usually microfiber or hemp, used to increase, or "double" the absorbency of a diaper.
liner -- 2 varieties; fleece liners are not absorbent or disposable but wick moisture away from baby; flushable liners are used to "catch" poop and can be rewashed if just wet, but flushed if dirtied
covers or wraps -- NOT the plastic pants of old days. Most typical covers are made of PUL, fleece or wool.
polyurethane laminate (PUL)-- fabric in which a waterproof laminate has been applied to the back
snappi -- a T-shaped device that holds prefolds shut; alternative to pins
IPF -- Indian pre-fold
DSQ--diaper service quality
MF -- microfiber
RaR -- Rump-a-Rooz
s'bish -- Sustainablebabyish
(There are loads of other brands as well, but these are the most popular/most widely used)
How to Prep your diapers:
Diapers need to be prepped before being used on baby, to make them absorbent.
hemp - needs to be prepped to remove natural oils or it will not absorb anything. A tip is to boil the hemp items for 10 minutes then cold water wash. You could just wash it several times (like 4 washes then dry) and it will get more absorbent over time after that. Expect shirinkage. Hemp needs to be prepped on it's own, or the natural oils from it could coat your other diapers, and prevent from them absorbing.
Bleached prefolds- wash & dry 4-6 times - literally: wash dry, wash dry, wash dry, wash dry, wash dry. This will make them quilt up to be more absorbent.
unbleached prefolds- wash & dry 10 times OR boil 10 minutes then wash dry 4-6 times.
bamboo wash, wash, wash, wash, then dry. Will become more absorbent over time.
microfiber and everything else- wash once in cold water and dry. Microfiber will become more absorbent over time.
At times you may notice your diapers aren't working as well as they should be, whether it's that they are leaking (which could be a repelling issue - using a non-cloth safe bum cream that contains zinc which will coat your diapers in an oil and the pee just rolls off) or they have stinkies.
Stripping with Blue Dawn (yes, the dishwashing soap!) is best; for repelling, you will fill your tub with hot water, let your diapers soak, and then scrub them one by one with an old toothbrush and a dot of Blue Dawn. This is done on clean diapers and then you throw them in the washing machine and rinse rinse rinse rinse until there are no suds.
For stinkies, Blue Dawn in the machine when they're wet and have been washed, do another hot wash with 2 tbsp of Blue Dawn, rinse rinse till no suds, then dry. Rockin' Green has a "Funk Rock" soak that also works quite well for stinkies.
Washing Routines: (Generally, old school top loaders are best for CDing because of the amount of water needed to thoroughly wash/rinse the diapers, but high efficiency ones are OK too, just watch your bubbles - you want a lack of - to make sure you don't leave soap residue which will give your diapers "stinkies" - ammonia build up)
High Efficiency Machines:
Here is a sampling of the routines that many mamas on this board use with their HE washers. Remember that the brand of detergent isn't important - use whichever CD-safe detergent you prefer.
Quote: 1) prewash on delicate with cold water, no detergent, no spin
2) "heavy duty" wash on hot with cold rinse, 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of Nellie's laundry soda (depends on load size), no spin
3) delicate cycle with warm wash, warm rinse
4) extra drain/spin cycle to get diapers drier before going to dryer since the highest spin on delicate is medium
Quote:"I have an LG HE/FL..."
1. Cold wash/rinse with no detergent, cancel the spin cycle, "water plus" & also a prewash with a squirt of Bac-Out
2. Hot wash/cold rinse with 1/2 scoop Country Save detergent, heavy soil option & "water plus"
3. Short wash with cold wash/rinse, no detergent, extra rinse (this basically functions as a 25 minute rinse).
Quote: "I have a HE TL, the Maytag Bravos. Here's my wash routine:"
Rinse and spin on cold
Wash on bulky setting, cold wash, extra rinse with Tide HE original powder filled to 1 line
Wash on power wash, hot with tiny bit more Tide, extra rinse with Ecover fabric softener
Dry everything in the dryer.
Quote: "Apparently my machine was made for cloth.. it is a FL, Whirlpool duet."
1. cold soak cycle no detergent
2. whitest whites cycle (hot water with an extra rinse) on medium spin with 1 squirt from a soap dispenser of Allen's liquid detergent
(3.) Some people add an extra rinse at the end of this cycle. This helps make sure all detergent is rinsed out.
The machine pretty much takes care of it all!
Quote: "Kenmore HE3T:"
I put my detergents and fabric softener (Ecover) in their corresponding holders, choose Whitest Whites button, then hit the AutoSoak button as an add on, press start and walk away for 90 minutes! LOL! But here's what that does:
1. Warm Rinse (with 1/2 TBLspn Tide). no spin, it just drains
2. Hot Wash (with 1/2 scoop Country Save or full amount of Tide depending on my mood)
3. 2 Cold Rinses
Quote: "I have a TL HE."
1 short wash cycle with no soap
next, Allergen cycle. It is a long cycle that uses lots of water and it uses HOT water and then it has a second rinse that is already in the Allergen cycle and of course I add 3 TBLS of RNG detergent.
Next throw into dryer for 50 minutes but I take my diaper covers out to air dry and they dry in like 30 mins.
I also have hard water and I use half of the cap of Calgon, a water softner. I just pour it in with the soap dispenser.
Quote: "FL HE (Frigidaire Affinity")
Cold cycle, no detergent, no spin
Hot cycle, detergent (All Free & Clear, Rockin' Green made stinkies), extra rinse
If it was a larger than usual load, one normal wash cycle (warm/cold).
Quote: "I have a Samsung HE FL, and soft water."
I do a warm/warm quick wash with no detergent and fast spin.
Then 3 Tbs rockin green heavy duty load on hot, with an extra rinse. Then I do another quick wash on warm/ warm, no detergent, for good measure.
Quote: "I have a HE Whirlpool Duet FL, and a really simple routine:"
"Regular" (or maybe it's called "normal," can't remember) cycle, hot wash/cold rinse + an extra rinse, fast spin. Oh, and I use the dreaded Tide free and clear.
About every month and a half, I run all my dipes on sanitize cycle with no detergent.
Chevonne's PERSONAL wash routine:
Since I do have an old school top loader, my routine is:
1 cold rinse
1 short hot rinse
wash with free & clear soap (general amount recommended is 1/3 of what is shown for a load of laundry)
1 hot rinse
1 cold rinse
I like to air dry my diapers generally but living in the PNW it's wet and cloudy often - so I do use my dryer on "less dry" for my pockets or anything with PUL (polyeurithane laminate - what makes them waterproof) and your Hawaiian sunshine will make your diapers gorgeous and white as sun is the BEST form of bleach and stain removal for diapers!) I dry my inserts HOT HOT HOT to make sure there is no bacteria in them.
Best bets for absorbency are flannel, bamboo, terry, hemp, and cotton. Avoid birdseyeweave, and be careful if you use ebay -- diapers there often are bid above prices charged at online shops. If you buy prefolds -- I'd recommend at least a doz for doublers and burping -- make sure they're 4x8x4 and they're either chinese prefolds (cpf) or diaper service quality (dsq). And very ambitious people who sew can easily find patterns and materials on line.
Absorbency Ratings for pocket diaper inserts:
Happy Heiny's Stuffin oval only - hemp/fleece: 2 oz
Joey Bunz, size small - hemp jersey: 5 oz
Joey Bunz, size medium - hemp jersey: 6 oz
Fuzzi Bunz Micro Insert - microfiber: 6 oz
Swaddlebees Hemp Jersey Insert, size small: 6 oz
Joey Bunz, size large - hemp jersey: 7 oz
Swaddlebees Hemp Jersey Insert, size medium: 7 oz
MOE Insert, size small - microfiber: 8 oz
Happy Heiny's Stuffin, without oval - hemp/fleece: 8 oz
Target 14x14 automotive towel (white) - microfiber: 8 oz
Swaddlebees Hemp Jersey Insert, size large: 8 oz
Jam Tots 2-layer one size hemp/terry insert: 10 oz
Chinese prefold, infant premium - cotton: 11 oz
MOE Insert, size med-large - microfiber: 12 oz
Chinese prefolds, regular premium - cotton: 12 oz
Wonder-Fulls One Size - hemp/fleece: 12 oz
Costco 16x16 automotive towel - microfiber: 13 oz
Cottonbabies One Size - microfiber: advertised to be 15 oz, tested at 13oz
Target (blue) 14x14 automotive towel- microfiber: 15 oz
Jam Tots 3-layer one size hemp/terry insert: 16 oz
A diaper pail holds your dirty diapers until laundry day. You don't need a special type of pail - any cheap kitchen garbage can will work perfectly. You usually don't want something with an airtight lid, since that will trap the smells in and cause bacteria to grow in the moist environment. A swing-top lid, for example, allows airflow to keep the pail from being overly stinky, and doesn't allow bacteria to grow on your wet dirty diapers - which we definitely don't want! Yuck!
A diaper pail is typically lined with a pail liner which is a waterproof liner that can get washed right along with your diapers - and keeps your pail from getting nasty, so you don't have to scrub your pail out each time you do laundry. Some pail liners even come with little extra tabs of fabric sewn into them, so that you can put a few drops of an essential oil to help keep stinkies away. There are also other forms of pail deodorizers available.
An alternative to a diaper pail is a hanging wetbag. As the name suggests, you hang it from a doorknob or your changing table. it is made of a decorative outer fabric, and lined with PUL, so it is waterproof. On laundry day the entire wetbag can get tossed in the wash with your diapers, so it is easy to care for.
A wetbag is pretty much a necessity if you ever plan to leave the house. It stores your wet/dirty diapers while out & about, and will keep the mess and stink inside. Like a pail liner, they are made of PUL on the inside and a pretty fabric on the outside. They come in a variety of sizes, and can hold anywhere from 2-15+ dirty diapers, depending on the size you get. They can have a zipper closure (usually preferred for it's ability to hold in any smells) or drawstring closure.
Remember that newborn poop (exclusively breastfed or formula fed) is 100% water soluble and can get tossed right in the wash. However, there comes a time when your baby is older, and is eating solid foods, but doesn't have fully "ploppable" poops yet. For times like this, many people like to use Flushable Liners. You can lay these in your diapers to make those sticky/runny poops easier to clean up.
Another way of dealing with nasty poops is a diaper sprayer. A diaper sprayer attaches to your toilet, and is similar to those sprayers that many people have on their kitchen sinks. You just spray the poop off of your diaper, and flush it away.Sale Announcements:
Diaperpin Sale Announcements (just Google that and the site will come up - lots of codes for discounts and adverts on sales)
Online diaper stores (see websites listed below) provide the highest quality products available for cloth diapering. Stores such as Babies R Us, Target, Walmart, etc., offer cheap, gauze-like Gerber brand prefolds made from birds-eye weave cloth that are sure to disappoint you. Don't waste your money! Shopping online is easiest and best.
Although the upfront cost of CD'ing can be a little prohibitive to some, it tends to pay for itself over time. See the huge long-term savings detailed on diaper websites....you will be amazed! And remember, if you start using cloth on your first child, those same diapers can be used on the second, the third, and so on. In the long run, you will save a TON of money.
All About Baby Boutique
Banana Peels Diapers
Cloth Diapers 'N More
Everything Birth*Use code 36RH10 for 5% off!*
Go Go Natural*FREE shipping on orders over $75* - One of Chevonne's FAVOURITE sites
Go Green Pocket Diapers
Greenie Beanie Bottoms
Green Mountain Diapers *Tons of real-life pictures showing fit on babies*
Happy Baby Company
Lovely Pocket Diapers
Mom's Milk Boutique
Nells Natural Baby
RG Natural Babies
Sew Crafty Baby
The Giggling Green Bean
Baby Bellhop *FREE shipping in CA over $99*
Caterpillar Baby *FREE shipping on orders over $99*
Cushy Tushy Bum Apparel *FREE shipping over $100*
Extraordinary Baby Shoppe
Huckleberry Baby Shop
New & Green Baby Co.
So Green Baby
The spotted Owl Eco Choices for Eco Families *Free shipping over $100
Well.Ca *FREE shipping in CA*
These are websites that offer crazy good deals once (or twice) a day. Sometimes they include cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories! By checking often, you can build up a nice eccletic stash, usually for at least 50% off retail price.
Baby Half Off
Green Baby Bargains
Eco Baby Buys
I know I just gave you a crapload of information and reading... feel free to email me for clarification on anything you come across! I primarily use pocket diapers, but use prefolds & a cover for camping, and occasionally fitteds with a cover for night time.
Make sure you check around for consignment baby stores, you can get GREAT cloth diapers on consignment instead of buying new - the majority of my stash was bought new as I was weirded out by using "used" diapers, but really it's no biggie - just strip them before you put them on your babe and it's all good! It's also an affordable way to dry diapers without buying new - some styles fit chubbier babies better, or ones with thin legs, etc.)
Happy researching and shopping!!
Seriously, how absolutely amazing is that?!?My pockets are primarily Bum Genius (GREAT for night time), Happy Heinys, Fuzzi Bunz, and Kawaiis. Kawaiis are by far the best bang for your buck, at about $8 each (all the other brands are $20+ each - Kawaii is just as good as the more expensive brands). I have a smattering of other brands like Charlie Banana, Bum Wear, Bummis TotBots (love, but are $28 per diaper) & Cutiepoops. I like Thirsties covers, they work really really well. My prefolds are actually Gerber, from WalMart! They work just as well as the expensive brands in my opinion, and I feel buying printed/tie dyed prefolds are a waste of $$ as they are always under a cover so nobody sees them & they can cost twice as much as plain ones. I bought my snappis on consignment, 2/$1. Oh, and I use a hanging wet bag. And I also use cloth wipes, they're another creature entirely that I can cover this weekend - I made my own & it cost me $4 for 68 wipes! And cloth wipes will lead to cloth wipe solutions, whether you choose just water (usually in spray bottle sprayed on the wipes as you need) or - like me- a water/oil/essential oil combo. I like Tea Tree Oil as it's anti fungal, cleans the bum well & keeps yeast and most any rash at bay.I will totally volunteer to be your cloth guide/Q&A gal for your blog if you need! I want to spread cloth love - our environment NEEDS us to use cloth, as well as our wallets!! A disposable diaper takes 500+ years to decompose, not to mention the chemicals and huge carbon footprint it creates when they are being manufactured. The average family saves $2200 per child on cloth - and that's after allowing $500 to build your cloth stash! I can give info on CDing an older child, what sizes/brands fit (my son was 45 lbs at 2.5 and could fit some cloth for night time as he was day trained) and anything related to it.There are more things to discuss such as what to do/use if your LO gets a bad diaper rash, a yeast rash (which can happen when using cloth - it's not a yeast infection per se as it's on the skin not inside the body), what CD creams to use, what to do when you HAVE to use a non-safe CD cream (they just work better) & when a cloth diaper's PUL starts to delaminate, the elastics start going and/or converting aplix (velcro) to snaps. All to come later, I didn't want to give you info overload!!!Cheers,Chevonne
THANK YOU CHEVONNE
So basically, I will be sharing my cloth diapering journey with all of you. For those of you who already CD, I look forward to your information and support... and to those of you who don't CD but are considering it, I hope you'll be able to get the resources you'll need that I just didn't have the first time around.
Also, if you've written a blog post about cloth diapering that you think would be useful, please do share in the link up!
Click below to "enter" and add your blog post about Cloth Diapering :)