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Monday, June 7, 2010

It's Poop Again! My Experiment with Cloth Diapering...

When I got pregnant with my second son, there were 2 main things I wanted to do differently: 1. breastfeed a lot longer and 2. try out cloth diapers. If you have read my earlier posts, you know I have been breastfeeding! So what about the cloth diapers and how do they compare with the disposables?

Well, after using the cloth diapers for 8 weeks now, I have to say that I do not ever want to switch back to disposables! I was surprised. I was a little nervous I would hate them. We started them the first week because I was scared I would get into the disposable routine and not want to switch. We started using them and we are doing fine. In fact, this past weekend we took a road trip to Baltimore for my 10 year reunion and we decided that toting dirty cloth diapers across state lines would be too difficult. We used the disposables for 2 days and couldn't wait to get home to our normal cloth routine.

Here are the main reasons why I prefer cloth:
  1. They are more cost effective. They are more money up front, but by 4ish months you have made up the cost and no more expensive diapers to buy.
  2. Better for the environment. I felt bad all the time that the disposables were hitting the landfills and they never decompose. That is a lot of trash for one little baby. Some people argue that you use more water (yes you do) and the harsh detergents are just as bad. I use environmentally friendly detergents, but yes, I do use more water. But I feel better using more water than producing more trash.
  3. They just "feel" better. When I felt the disposables on my hands they feel less soft and more plasticy (I know that isn't a real word). So, the feeling of the cloth diapers on my son's skin feel better to me. They feel more substantial, softer, and more comfortable.
  4. The disposables leaked! He had a couple of big poops and the disposables just couldn't handle it. The cloth diapers never fail me with his poop (knock on wood!). It could have been because they were slightly too small--but that is another reason to love my cloth ones--they are adjustable in size!
  5. They are adorable. They look like little underpants and I match them to his outfit of the day. I know it's silly but they are so cute!
The drawbacks:
  • More laundry. You have to do a load pretty much every other day. But babies make more laundry anyway and I find myself doing daily anyway. If you think "I work and cannot take the time to do it". You would be happy to know my husband cleans them more than I do, and he works a full time job too :)
  • Touch more poop? I haven't really found this to be the case, but some people think that they are messier. I find that a dirty diaper is a dirty diaper, and when you change him it's the same. I take off the diaper, take it apart and toss everything into a pail. Then I dump everything into the washer without really touching it.
  • Don't travel well on trips. I don't really want to drag back a bag full of dirty diapers in a car ride. And, if you do not have access to laundry while you are away, you would be stuck carting them around.
  • Cannot use diaper cream with them directly. The cream stains the diapers. We bought some washable liners (made by Bum Genius) to protect the diaper if he ever gets a rash.
What else is needed?
  • Wipes: We use little baby wash cloths I picked up from the store to do the wiping. We just dip a wash cloth in a little container of water that we keep on the changing table and toss it in the diaper pail with the diaper.
  • Diaper pail and bag: We use a trash bucket with a pop-up lid for the diaper pail and put a nylon bag in it to catch the diapers. When it is time to clean, we just pull out the whole bag and dump it in the wash.

How do you clean them? (my cousin Lynne gave me this recipe for cleaning them and it works beautifully).

  1. Run a cold cycle first to remove stains. We use a 1/2 tablespoon of Charlie's soap, 5-8 drops of grapefruit seed extract, and 2-3 drops of blue dawn dish soap.
  2. Run a hot cycle to disinfect. We use a 1/2 tablespoon of Charlie's soap, 3-5 drops of grapefruit seed extract, and 2-3 drops of blue dawn dish soap.
  3. Hang them on a drying rack or clothes line to dry them. The dryer destroys the Velcro over time and hanging them to dry doesn't take very long.
The grapefruit seed extract is often used to sanitize and has antivirus and anti fungal properties. You can get it at health food stores. The blue dawn prevents you from having to "strip" them because it has de-greasing properties. You can get this anywhere.

What do you do with the poop?

We don't do anything yet because he is still breastfed, so his poops are like mustard. When he starts solid foods, we plan to just plop it into the toilet before throwing the diaper into the pail.

So, in conclusion...
I have decided to stick with my cloth diapers for a long while. We use the Bum Genius brand. I did some research ahead of time and other cloth diaperers seemed more satisfied with that brand overall. But, you can always get a sample of a few different kinds and decide for yourself what works best for you.

So, I hope this helps anyone thinking about going the cloth diaper route.

In health and wellness,

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