A friend of mine just told me that she is pregnant with her second child and had all kinds of questions about clothing diapering. I thought that this would be a great time to write a quick cloth diapering post. The internet is ablaze with some great cloth diapering blogs and Facebook has an awesome cloth diapering community as well. I started my cloth diapering journey about 2 ½ years ago, shortly after finding out I was pregnant. I wish I had known more about the variety of cloth diapers that are out there, especially ones made from work-at-home-moms and small, family companies. I have used cloth diapers exclusively on Tiny since she was born and almost 23 months later, we are still going strong.
I purchased 24 Bum Genius, One Size Pocket diapers from www.cottonbabies.com . I am not disappointed with the product at all. They are fantastic diapers and I really like using the one-size system For non-cloth diaperers, one size means that the diaper has snaps which make it adjustable. You can size it according to your child's needs. This means that you only have to purchase one set of diapers to last the length of diaper wearing for your child. One upfront cost and you are done! I also like these diapers because you can adjust the absorbency by adding more inserts as needed (hence the term Pocket diaper). Unlike All-In-One diapers that do not require you to stuff the absorbent liner in, my Bum Genius diapers allow you to have less coverage for days and more coverage for nights and nap times. Most inserts are a microfiber type of material. I discovered Happy Heineys hemp inserts later on down my cloth diapering road and REALLY love them. I wish I had purchased more as they work especially well at night and for nap time. They are super, super absorbent I have found! And without further ado…
Cloth Diapering blogs/websites that I love:
· http://www.29diapers.com (AWESOME, AWESOME resource with a lot of great articles for those new to the cloth diapering scene!) Also has a Facebook page where she links to a lot of great giveaways! http://www.facebook.com/pages/29-Diapers/114523841897676
· (I am a HUGE fan of Etsy – an online marketplace of great artisans. This page highlights the cloth diaper shops! Great resource and they hold giveaways too!) Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Etsy-Cloth-Diaper-Team/222715279314
· http://www.theclothdiaperreport.com (Lots of great articles, reviews, and giveaways!) Also has a Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cloth-Diaper-Report/232208780614
· http://themisadventuresofafamilyof8.blogspot.com/p/ongoing-giveaways.html (This isn't a cloth diapering only blog although Katie does use a variety of cloth diapers and shares her experiences with them. She has some GREAT giveaways and product reviews though! She also has a pretty fun-to-read-about home life!) Here is her Facebook page as well: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Misadventures-Of-A-Family-Of-8/146758095362702
Here is a list of the Facebook Pages I am a fan of (there are MANY MORE and once you start “liking” cloth diaper pages, you will see all sorts of other links to additional cloth diaper pages). Many of these pages hold frequent giveaways for their fans. This is a great way to get free cloth diapers. Many moms never have to buy a single diaper because they win them all. I suggest you start entering as many giveaways as you can, especially if you have several months before your baby arrives. Your stash will be complete before you even need to utilize it! Here is my list in alphabetical order:
· http://www.facebook.com/5MCreations (BIG giveaway going on until February 14th)
· http://www.facebook.com/diapezecom (A local Sacramento area shop and I encourage you to support this great business! Show Sacramento some love!)
· http://www.facebook.com/happyheinys (I LOVE their hemp inserts!)
· http://www.facebook.com/Kellywels (LOTS of great links to current diaper giveaways! You need this FB page on your radar!)
· http://www.facebook.com/SewCraftyBaby#!/SewCraftyBaby (Jennifer owns this local Sacramento area shop and I encourage you to support a Rancho Cordova based business. I have purchased from her and am impressed with her customer service as well as stock!)
· http://www.facebook.com/shopAbbysLane (Also carries some cute cloth doll diapers that I am eyeing big time!!!!!)
· (I actually won a giveaway to her store and got the cutest diaper cover! Great shop!)
· http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mommy-Times/124558544238410 (LOTS of great links to current diaper giveaways! You need this FB page on your radar!)
· http://www.facebook.com/ThriftyNiftyMommy (A non-profit organization which links to all the current cloth diaper giveaways! You need this FB page on your radar!)
· http://www.facebook.com/WahmConnect (Great resource for all kinds of cloth diapers, cloth diapering accessories, etc… This is an umbrella site which allows you to learn more about shops owned and operated by work-at-home-moms).
Ok – after going onto all of these Facebook pages to grab the links for you, I am sooooooooooooo freaking jealous that I didn't grab a diaper or two from each of these shops. There are some SUPER cute ones out there. Oh my goodness. I'm dying right now! I have never ohhhed and ahhhhed so much! The fabrics and prints are to die for.
Here are a couple of additional notes for you before you begin your adventure…
You will want to select a good detergent to launder your cloth diapers in. I alternate between Planet detergent (available at Whole Foods) and Charlie's Soap (http://www.charliesoap.com). I actually use Charlie's Soap for all of our laundry and LOVE it. It is earth-friendly, super economical and works great in high efficiency washers! I love the Planet detergent but it is pricey so I only use it for the diapers and then only every 4th washing or so. I notice that is helps get the softness back into the inserts.
Your laundering routine is critical to the life of your diapers, especially if you have diapers with Velcro tabs. Here is what I do and it has worked WONDERS! I have no staining and no odor. Unlike a lot of cloth diaperers out there, I never rinse off the diapers before putting them in the wet bag (more on the wet bag in a second). I have never found a need. I just dump any solids in the toilet and flush. I put the soiled diaper in the wet bag (after separating the insert from the cover) and it hangs out there until wash day. I wash every other day – no exceptions. This is critical in keeping staining and odor build up to a minimum. On wash day, I put the diapers in the washing machine (I know, a given) and run a RINSE cycle on cold – no detergent. After that, I add detergent and I run a HEAVY SOIL cycle on Hot/Cold with an extra rinse cycle at the end. If for some reason your diapers are heavily soiled (i.e. diarrhea) then you might want to add a presoak cycle at the beginning. I have found that running a cold water rinse cycle first is really what keeps the odor in check. After washing, I prefer to line dry the diapers. Sun is a great natural antibacterial agent. It also is very effective at natural bleaching. If you prefer to dry your diapers in the dryer or the weather does not allow you to line dry, then run the dryer on a medium setting for 40 minutes followed by 15 minutes on the high setting. NEVER use fabric softener. They will kill the absorbency of your inserts. Depending on the brand of diaper you choose, there will be recommendations on whether or not to use bleach, OxyClean type of products, vinegar, and the like. Follow these recommendations. There is a reason the manufacturer is telling you not to use a particular product.
The wet bag – this is a critical piece of the cloth diaper puzzle. If you want to effectively store your soiled diapers, I suggest getting a cheap diaper pail or a medium sized storage tote. Purchase two extra large wet bags (you need two to rotate when one is in the wash with the diapers) and line the pail or tote with it. The wet bag keeps odors in and moisture out! Your pail or tote won't get smelly or damp. You can use a wet bag by itself and hang it on the door but I find that smells begin to permeate the bathroom or whatever room you have the wet bag hanging out in. It needs that container with a lid to lock in the odors. I have some great links to share for wet bags and will share those in another post. I will also share some great information on wool diaper covers, wool longies, and wool shorties. I have found these to be the answer to middle of the night diaper changes. Again, I will save this information for another post. Mama is tired!
I hope that you found this information helpful. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to share more on my cloth diapering experience.
Jennifer – Hybrid Rasta Mama
P.S. Just in case you were wondering, these are the reasons why I cloth diaper:
1. It is so much less expensive than disposable diapering. On average, you will save $1,500-$2,000 per child if you use cloth.
2. It is earth friendly. We do not need more diapers sitting around in landfills for the next 100 years. Seriously – diapers do not break down.
3. Cloth diapers really do prevent diaper rash. Tiny has never had diaper rash. Seriously.
4. There are quite a few health concerns related to the chemicals in disposable diapers that leach into the skin. I'll pass.
5. Cloth diapered toddlers typically potty train earlier than disposable diaper wearers. Cloth diapers allow children to feel more of the wet sensation than disposables do. This is a major plus when it comes to child led potty training.
6. You can use your cloth diapers on more than one child. They last a LONG time and the resale on used diapers is pretty good. You won't find any used disposables for sale! J
7. Cloth diapers are super cute and cloth diaper butts are soooooo darn irresistible!
8. Modern cloth diapers are as easy to use as disposables and do not add that much more work to my day. They extra loads of laundry are worth it!
Please note that I have listed all of these links as well as added any personal comments simply out of the kindness of my heart and to help those of you who are beginning your cloth diapering adventure. I have NOT received ANY sort of compensation for listing these shops/websites/Facebook pages, etc… In the future, I may write some product reviews and host giveaways and hope that some of these websites would consider sponsoring one for me. However, I have NO sponsors at this time. Also – please forgive me if a link or two does not work. My eyes were crossing from so much cutting and pasting!