I was inspired by Jacqui over at Mexican Domestic Goddess to share our take on cloth diapering. If you really want to know about cloth diapering you should definitely check out her post because most of what I know I learned from her. Some people are very good at researching things and finding out all there is to know. That's Jacqui. Other people are good at letting their friends do the research and then learning from them. That's me!
First off, let me tell you why we chose to cloth diaper. The first reason is that it is very cost effective. You'll have to spend more money up front but in the long run they are much cheaper than disposable diapers. And if you plan ahead and put them on a baby registry then other people will buy them for you. Or be like Johnny and ask for them for Christmas!
The second reason we cloth diaper is a part of a larger desire to live simply, cut down on waste and buy only what we need. It's the same reason we don't want Johnny to have a lot of toys. Just a few intentionally picked, good quality toys that all fit in one bin. It's the same reason my new years resolution is to to do no clothing shopping during 2014. Live simply, live intentionally. Yes, cloth diapers take more time and work, but I believe that faster and easier is often not better. I like the idea of working with my hands. And in the warmer weather when I hang the diapers out on the clothes line I like to think that I am connecting with women from past generations.
The third reason is that the cloth diapers of today are super duper cute! And who doesn't want to see a cute baby in a cute diaper?
Clothes diapers generally fall into two categories: all-in-ones and covers and liners. We do a combination of both. An all-in-one is exactly what is sounds like, it's all one piece, and can only be used once before washing. They are very easy to use, but tend to be kind of expensive. The bumGenius Freetime diaper is the best diaper we have ever used. Hands down. At $20 a pop we can't afford to use them for every diaper change. We purchased 4 on our own, and Johnny got a bunch for Christmas. We use them for over night (yes, one diaper lasts the whole night) or if we are out and about and don't want to have to change diapers as often.
We also have some Thirsties all-in-ones that are not as good as the bumGenius, but they're nice to have on hand for babysitters who may not feel quite adept at finagling a cover and liner.
Speaking of covers and liners, these are ours:
We use Thirsties Duo Wrap covers, which, unlike their sister all-in-ones, are great. I don't remember the last time Johnny had a leak in one of them. For liners we just use a basic pre-fold. We have gotten all of our all-in-ones off of Amazon. I know that a lot of people like Green Mountain Diapers. Peapods in Como Park also has a lot of cloth diapering gear as well as a weekly information session on going cloth. They carry used diapers too, and that's where we got all our pre-folds. It sounds kind of gross to buy used diapers, but they've been professionally cleaned, they don't require any breaking in (new ones would) and they're cheap, I think I paid about $15 for a dozen.
This is how we do liners and covers.
Then you just button them up!
We have five covers. We use two a day, switching back and forth and letting them dry between uses, unless they get reeeally dirty, then it goes in the wet bag. We have a couple of Planetwise wet bags that we keep in the bathroom (plus a small one for in the diaper bag) and when a bag fills up we go dump it in the washing machine. First a rinse cycle, then a wash on hot, we put vinegar in as a fabric softener. I'm currently in the market for a good free and clear detergent that won't break the bank. Any suggestions?
Our cloth diapering has changed a little bit since Johnny has had his colostomy taken down. While he had his ostomy bag we were only changing wet diapers, so our beginning with cloth diapers was pretty easy. We didn't have to worry about diaper rash at all and all the reusable wipes we had bought largely went unused. For a while though, we didn't think cloth diapering would be compatible with an ostomy bag. The NICU nurses taught us the empty the bag into Johnny's diapers a few times a day. When we made the switch to cloth we couldn't figure out where we were going to dump the poop. It made no sense to wash poopy diapers when we could just be washing wet ones. For a while we saved a stash of disposable diapers specifically for emptying Johnny's bag, but eventually we just started holding him over the toilet and flushing it all away.
We also thought for a while that the cloth diapers were pushing on the seal of Johnny's ostomy bag, causing leaks. We had so many bag leaks around the time we started using cloth. We tried putting the bag on at different angles, and tucking it into his diaper instead of having it stick out on top. In the end I think that's what helped the most.
Now the ostomy is gone, and all our diapers, once so white and pristine, are well used and stained. Because of Johnny's very frequent poops we're going through more diapers and I've been washing a load of them often every day. His diaper rash has presented some problems, as diaper rash creams can cause fabric to become repellent. Especially the bumGenius' which are microfiber. At the recommendation of my cloth diaper guru I purchased some simple fleece liners, also made by bumGenius, to put on top of the all-in-ones to catch all the diaper cream and save the diapers. It has been a difficult adjustment, but I prefer this much more to changing ostomy bags!
Speaking of diaper rash creams, we know a lot about those now! So if you ever are looking for a good one this one is my favorite, and this one is a close second.