I have been asked numerous questions about cloth diapers recently. I've been wanting to write out everything I know about cloth diapering for the benefit for those who are interested in this frugal option. But I've never taken the time to do it! This past week, Simple Mom did a whole week of articles on all things concerning cloth diapering. I sure could not have written anything better myself. So if you are interested, go to her site to learn all about it.
Following is an edited version of what I wrote last summer in my newsletter. I've added some more information answering some of the questions I've received.
I know that most of you are not in the baby stage of life, and even fewer of you would probably even consider cloth diapers, but I have to admit that I LOVE CLOTH DIAPERS! Yes, now you know for sure that I'm weird! But I just walked in from bringing an arm load of sun bleached diapers and I'll soon be wrapping my little one's bottom in soft cotton. What is there not to love! Sure there is a few more loads of laundry, but for me it has been far worth it. And several hundred extra bucks each year doesn't hurt anything either!
If you have done any research on cloth diapering, you've discovered that diapers have come a long way from the strips of flannel and huge safety pins your mother used. There is so many options in diapers out there (FuzziBunz, BumGenius, pocket diapers, etc) that it is positively overwhelming and some products are not cheap! I chose the simplest options of unbleached Chinese pre-folds, Dappi covers, and Snappi fasteners. I've been very pleased and even my husband learned to master the Snappis. (Just guessing, but I think diaper pins would have scared him out of the bathroom!)
If you are interested in cloth diapers please DON'T buy cloth diapers from Walmart or Target!!! You might as well wrap your baby in a paper towel then use Gerber. They just are not absorbent! Buy the durable diapers used by diaper services. Some of my diapers are now on their fourth child! They may be a little worn and tattered but they still work! I bought mine from F.A.M.I.L.I.E.S. (There website doesn't show their diaper products, so ask for a catalog. They are a family company with very fast service.)
Do they leak? Yes, sometimes, especially when I need to move up to a larger size diaper cover. But so do disposables! In fact, right now Brooke seems to be on a schedule that she holds in all in and does one gully washer of liquid poo each evening! If she is in a disposable, everything, including mom, needs changed! But a cloth diaper seems to have enough folds and weight to hold most of it in.
How do you store and clean cloth diapers? I keep a tightly sealed plastic bucket under the bathroom sink where I keep dirty diapers. When that is full, I empty them into a larger plastic bucket in the basement near the washing machine. I do not pre-soak the diapers. When I'm ready to launder, I dump the diapers into the washing machine with detergent and wash with hot water. I like Charlies Soap. Sometimes I do a double rinse, but usually I do not. I never dry the vinyl diaper covers in the dryer. I prefer to hang the diapers outdoors to take advantage of the sun's power to whiten the diapers, especially now with newborn yellow stains! It makes them pure white.
I am not a cloth diaper purist. I only use cloth diapers at home. Don't worry, if you ever babysit for me, I won't ask you to change a cloth diaper! Though my husband is so grateful that I learned to change cloth diapers growing up, he threatens to send our children to my parent's with cloth diapers so that my younger sisters can have the same advantage! But I know that my mom would just do all the diaper changing! I've also used a lot of disposables on my youngest son at night as he seems to have sensitive skin and, though he was fine during the day, it seemed to aggravate it at night in a cloth diapers, though I think he is growing out of it. With an infant, two year old, and three year old in nighttime diapers, I would be going through a huge stack disposables. For three weeks after Brooke was born I used disposables for convenience and couldn't believe how many packs we went through! The amount of trash we made those few weeks was astounding! It made me even more determined, and grateful, to use cloth.
And once again I'll add my disclaimer...I am not saying that you should use cloth diapers! There isn't anything more spiritual about cloth vs. disposables. I just mention it for anyone who might be interested in the option and need some courage to give it a try! You might surprise yourself and love it, too! I enjoy writing about the things that work for me, whether diapers, cooking from scratch or having chickens. But you and your husband may have entirely different goals for your home! Don't put yourself on a guilt trip because you choose another path! Wouldn't the world be horribly boring if we all did things exactly alike!