Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Cloth Diapers, Part 1
I've started and never posted on cloth diapering so many times. There is just so much to write about that it gets a little overwhelming. I was going to call this "all you ever wanted to know about cloth diapering," but that post, printed out would probably fill a book. There's so much to say that I'm going to do this is 2 or 3 parts. Or, maybe I'm just long winded.
I started cloth diapering both Silas and Samuel (who was almost 2) right after Silas was born.
Why Cloth Diaper?
The reason we made this change was because I started to get concerned about what was in disposable diapers and what they were doing to my babies. You know those little clear balls that are on their skin when a diaper gets too wet? Can't be good.
And, we would save lots of money. And, spare lots and lots of disposable diapers from ending up in the landfills. It is estimated to take 250-500 years to decompose.
Because I was intimidated to start cloth diapering it took me a long time to actually do it. I briefly considered it with Judah, seriously considered it with Samuel, finally did it with Silas, and now I consider myself a seasoned pro. Just kidding.
I did lots and lots of research on Diaper Swappers and Diaper Pin and highly recommend both of these sites.
Diaper Swappers has a forum where you can buy diapers from people (like a mini ebay for cloth diapers and accessories only). It is a great place to buy a few diapers, used, for a great price to try them out. I got several from there in the beginning. You can sell yours there when you're done, too. Diaper Pin has reviews on diapers, where to buy, how much others bought them for, and more.
Types of Diapers
For the ease of use I decided to start with BumGenius all-in-ones (aios). These basically look like a disposable diaper, just made from cloth. When the diaper gets wet or dirty you clasp the velcro together and throw the whole thing in the washing machine.
The benefit of aios is that they are so easy to use. You don't have to fold or stuff anything. You just use the diaper. A lot of people that use aios for babysitters, daycare, grandparents, and even dads. The downside is that they aren't as absorbent as other types, they take a lot longer to dry, and they are the most expensive option.
I am slowly phasing out of the aios and using only pocket diapers. Pocket diapers have a separate outer layer and insert. You "stuff" the insert into the diaper before you put it on the baby and take it out before washing. It takes slightly more work, because you have to prep the diaper before putting it on baby, but it literally takes a few seconds per diaper.
The benefits of a pocket diaper are they are less expensive than the aios, you can control how absorbent the diaper is based on the type, size, and how many inserts you add in, and they are, also, pretty easy to use.
There are, also, some new diapers called "flip diapers." I don't really know much about them, but apparently they're a mix between pockets and prefolds. They have an outer layer that you can reuse if it's not soiled and an inner layer.
The last type of diaper are prefolds. These are more "old fashioned" and what a lot of people think of when they think of cloth diapers. They're also the things you buy in packages at Target and can use as burp cloths.
They have an outer (usually plastic) cover and an inner cloth that needs to be folded (like a burp cloth type). They are sometimes use velcro and, rarely, pins. You can use the outer layer over and over until soiled and just wash the "cloth" on the inside. These are the most cost effective, but also have the steepest learning curve.
On sizing, you have two choices: fitted (xs, s, m, l, or xl) or one size. Fitteds are trimmer because you don't have to fold up the extra fabric for the smaller sizes, but if you plan on cloth diapering for the long haul one sizes are very economical. You pay more in the beginning per diaper, but get more use out of each diaper. You buy them once and you're done.
While I was starting cloth diapering a friend answered lots of questions for me. If you have any, I'd love to do the same for you. Feel free to leave a comment or email me.
Don't forget to come back in a few days for part deux!
Diapers and products I recommend
Tiny Tush Diapers
Fuzzi Bunz Diapers
Hemp Babies Inserts
Bummis Flushable Liners
photo credits: Cotton Babies, Fuzzi Bunz, Tiny Tush, Green Mountain Diapers
You can read Part 2 here.