If you haven’t figured it out already, I have a 6 month old daughter with my wonderful husband, Glenn. She is a complete joy, and I really love the, well, love, that she has brought into our lives. She is amazing, and growing up right before our eyes! Anyway, I have been successfully and almost-exclusively cloth diapering her since she was 2 months old. Even at the babysitter…aka Grandma. Why not from birth? Well, she was a preemie (6 weeks early) so she was pretty small at first, and the cloth diapers I had purchased wouldn’t fit her yet. Plus we had a lot of disposables given to us as gifts for my showers, etc. I use disposables occasionally, but have only purchased one brand, which I will explain later. Here is just a quick post, going through my experiences, some definitions of the different types, and what I like to use!
This all started for me when my husband and I started talking about trying to get pregnant. We were leaving for a trip with a long plane ride (California to Washington DC) so we went to Barnes and Noble to pick up a few books. One I chose was “The Complete Organic Pregnancy.” This is a GREAT book. Even if you’re not pregnant or planning to be pregnant. It changed the way I live. It talks about everything from your makeup, food storage containers, eating organically or non-organically, your mattress, remodeling, diapering…anything you can think of – it’s in there! I then started reading the authors’ blog – Ask An Organic Mom on The Daily Green. I even wrote to them once and they posted a blog about my question! I highly, highly recommend their book and blog. It is a wealth of information about living healthier for EVERYONE. I have read it from cover to cover multiple times, and I am constantly using it as a reference.
As far as my cloth diapering education goes, I have discovered a few different types of cloth diapers. There are “pocket diapers,” “all-in-one” diapers and the “hybrid” aka g-diapers. You can buy them in all different sizes, or one-size. The one-size diapers have snaps down the front so that they can be adjusted as your baby grows.
All-in-one (or AIO) diapers are pretty self-explanatory: they’re just a ready-to-use cloth diaper. No stuffing, folding, pinning or covers. Shaped like a disposable with snaps or velcro closures and a waterproof layer and absorbent layers sewn inside, they are “all-in-one.” I have purchased one of these to try (from a seller on etsy.com) and they are ok. It could have been the one I purchased, but I haven’t had much luck with them. The first one I got, my daughter wet through it in about 10 minutes. I did contact the seller about it, and she sent me a free replacement which lasted a little longer, but I still prefer others. The other downside to these is because of all the layers inside, they take a long time to dry. If you’re interested, I would search on etsy.com or try these from diapers.com. Let me know if you know a brand that works better!!
Pocket diapers are an outer shell made of a waterproof fabric (PUL aka polyurethane laminate) with a suedecloth polyester liner (the part that is against the baby), and they have a pocket that you stuff absorbable inserts into. These are my favorite, by far. You can customize the absorbency by stuffing them with different inserts or more than one insert, and because the inserts come out when you wash them (you don’t have to pull them out before washing – they come out on their own!) they dry a lot faster. They last a long time and are just so easy to use. I first bought a brand called bumGenius from diapers.com. They come in one-size and they’ve worked wonderfully for me. I also own the cow print “Happy Heinys” pocket diaper, which works good, but for some reason seems to leak sooner than the bumGenius. I use it at night now that my daughter wets less overnight. I bet if you follow those links you’ll notice one thing…$18.95 per diaper??? Yep, seems steep, but do the math and you’re really coming out on top. Especially because of the fact that these diapers can be used on more than one child! You can also buy cloth wipes (which I haven’t gotten down yet, but I’m getting low on my Tushies soon, so you never know!) and that will really save you some money as well!
After discovering etsy.com, I have found some GREAT handmade diapers that come out to cheaper prices per diaper than buying from diapers.com or other websites. One brand that I would highly recommend is called “Monkey Snuggles.” The diapers are so cute, they work great, their inserts are wonderful (bamboo, too!), and if you buy the starter packs, the diapers can range from about $12-15 each. They are ssooo worth it! I’ve also bought a “wet bag” from them, and they also sell cloth wipes (which I might invest in soon).
The other type of cloth diaper that I’ve used is the “gDiaper.” These are a “hybrid,” meaning the outer is cloth, but it has a snap-in plastic liner that you put a disposable absorbant insert into. This insert can be tossed, flushed or composted (the wet ones anyway!). You then put a new insert into the liner and your baby is good to go! How do you flush it? You take the dirty insert, hold it over the toilet, rip the sides, the inner “fluff” falls out, and then you swish it around in the water (with a handy little stick they give you), the fluff breaks apart, drop the rest in and you flush it! Pretty handy. Plus the gDiapers are sssooo stinkin’ cute! I’ve only purchased the starter kit, which includes an orange and a vanilla gPant, but you can buy more colors and patterns from their website http://www.gdiapers.com. They come in 3 sizes (small, medium and large)
One other option that I’ve done with the gDiapers, which my daycare-provider/mother-in-law loves to use, is use a cloth insert in the gDiaper. I ran across some sellers on etsy that tested out various sizes, materials and shapes on their own kids, and now sell handmade gDiaper inserts!! They’re very easy to use and work great. They don’t seem to last as a double-stuffed Monkey Snuggle (which I prefer) but they still last a long time, and the convenience of just swapping out an insert instead of a whole new diaper is great. The ones I bought are made of hemp, and you can buy them here. I’ve seen more sellers jumping on that bandwagon lately, so if you do a search for “gdiaper” on Etsy, you’re sure to find them! I am planning on buying some more of these soon as well…I only have the 6 which is good for a day and a half at Grandma’s!
How do you clean the cloth diapers??
Well, the wet ones are easy. Just throw them in the washer.
What about the poopy ones??
With a breastfed baby, there really isn’t much more work to do…it’s practically just absorbed into the diaper so you can’t do much. Now that Harper is starting to eat solid foods, it’s a different story. Right now, I just scrape as much as I can into the toilet (I use a flushable wipe) and then throw it in the washer as well. There are “diaper sprayers” out there that you can buy, and I think we’ll need to invest in one soon.
How do you wash them?
I use a baby-approved powder detergent made for sensitive skin called SA8 Sensitive Laundry Detergent. It works great, and that’s what I wash all of her clothes in. You shouldn’t use fabric softener on baby clothes, or on absorbent materials (like towels, diaper inserts, bath mats, etc.) because it makes them lose their absorbency. Most places I’ve purchased diapers from send washing instructions, so that’s handy, too.
Do you use rash cream with cloth diapers?
Nope. You shouldn’t use it because it is hard to get out of the fabric. Plus you don’t need it most of the time – you’re changing them often enough and the fabric is breathable.
Do you ever use disposables?
Yes, occasionally. I used them over Christmas when we were visiting family, or on long trips, or days when I’ll be busy running around and don’t know how often I can change her.
What brand do you use?
I only buy Seventh Generation Chlorine Free diapers. I haven’t bought any since November and still have a pack and a half left (about 60 diapers). The moms over at “Ask An Organic Mom” won’t use these because they have absorbent gel in them. But after doing a little of my own research, it seems like if a company like Seventh Generation is willing to use it in their diapers, then it is safe. Plus I rarely use disposables.
Seventh Generation says this about their diapers:
“You Are Making a Difference
Your choice of our chlorine free diapers could help reduce cancer rates. The U.S. EPA estimates that the maximum safe level of lifetime dioxin exposure is just 0.003 picograms per pound of body weight per day. This exposure is equivalent to just ten drops of water in all the Great Lakes! The current level of dioxin pollution in our world creates an unacceptable cancer risk for almost every man, woman, and child on earth. In fact, modern body tissue carries 50 times more dioxin than that of ancient body tissue. Your choice of our chlorine free diapers helps reduce the amount of dioxin polluting our air, water and soil, and helps make the world a safer, healthier place for your family and generations to come.
We Disclose All Ingredients
Our diapers are made of chlorine free wood pulp, poly backing, and a soft poly outer cover. Absorbency is enhanced through the use of SAP, super absorbent polymer (gel).
A Note About Gel
We use absorbent polymer (gel) in our diapers because it is the best method we have found for keeping babies dry and reducing diaper rash. Our exhaustive research on this gel has shown that it is non-toxic and safe for babies while helping keep them dry and comfortable. Independent scientific research on this chemically inert gel, sodium polyacrylate, has shown that it is non-toxic, not carcinogenic, and non-irritating to the skin.”
So that is my little spiel about cloth diapering. I am a big fan of it, obviously, and I think that it is really easy to do! Let me know if you have any questions or comments!! I’ll close with a cutie photo of my gBaby. 🙂