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How do you Cloth?

I've gotten a few questions recently from people considering cloth diapering.  I am no expert, however.  With our first daugther, the closest laundromat was 4 blocks away.  I didn't know much about diapering services then, we never even had considered cloth.

So, when we got to Portland and had a washer/dryer, it became a real consideration.  Before our second daughter was born, my neighbor gave me a pile of cloth diapers.  I had no idea what to do with them.  Thank goodness for Google.  Two major decisions seemed to be: 1) how to pre-wash and wash? and 2) what kind of diapers?

For the pre-wash stuff, there seemed to be a soak method, storing soiled diapers in a bucket with borax or vinegar.  We decided to use the dry pail method, just getting rid of any solids first, then storing in a dry bucket with a lid until we were ready for a wash.  We'd wash once every 2 days or so.  When washing, we'd run the diapers on a cold water cycle, with extra rinse, on heavy, with NO detergent.  It served as a super-duper rinse.  Once that was done, we'd run the diapers again, on warm, heavy wash, with no extra rise, and WITH the detergent this time.  Depending on the day, we'd either dry the batch in the dryer on high or we'd hang them up.

For the type of diaper, we tried lots of stuff, and - like lots of things in parenting - it's a lot of trial and error.  Some types work for some families but not for others.  We ended up using uber fleecey Fuzzi Bunz (size medium from age 6 weeks to almost 2-1/2 years!).  We loved the Fuzzis.  It's a pocket diaper, so you can stuff it up the whazzooo with absorbent stuff and it could hold A LOT of pee (not that we'd let her go for days without a change ....)  We used the Mother of Eden micro-fleece liners, and two of those would make a super-stuffed Fuzzi that promised a dry crib all the time.

Once the li'l girl started eating big people food and having big people poop, we started using the disposable kushie diaper liners, so we didn't have to scrape, scrape, scrape the stuff into the toilet before washing.  But, until that point, I have to say that mama-milk poop is the greatest stuff.  Easy to wash out, not terribly smelly in that big-person-poop sorta way. 

Now that we're done with the diapering, we are so happy to have gone wtih cloth.  It wasn't all that hard, once we got into the hang of dry pailing, poop-dumping, and double-washing.  We're happy with our decision.  We started out cautiously, though, trying out a diaper here and there - from prefolds and wraps to fuzzis and inserts.  We'd purchased a few consigned diapers and a some new.  All told, we probably spent around $200 for our set of 18 or so.

A couple of other final tips: to my knowledge, there's only one Portland diaper service, Tidee Didee.  For all your diapering needs in Portland, try Babyworks or Milagros.

So, for those of you who did cloth, how did you do it?  Which diapers did you use?  What are your number one tips for those considering cloth?  Soon-to-be-mom Thuan asks:

Hi, I'm a soon-to-be new mama and am grateful for this site!  I'm wondering about urban mamas' experience with diapers . . . cloth, disposable, g-diapers?  What worked for you, how cost-effective was it?  We're interested in convenience, cost, and eco-friendly. ha! Is this possible?

P.S. Here is a recent urbanMamas conversation-  G-Diapers: So, how are they?


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Although I really like the idea of Fuzzy Bunz and the other all-in-one dipes, cost was a real consideration for us, so we went with prefolds (i.e. regular, flat, fold-'em-in-thirds dipes) and covers.

We got our prefolds from www.weebees.com (great site!), although if I'd known about Babyworks at the time, I would definitely have kept my $$ in town. 36 newborn size and 36 regular size took our kids from newborn to potty trained at age 3.

We experimented quite a bit with different covers. Although I liked the Bummis ok, what really worked for us were the Nijis I found at Babyworks. With covers, it seems like you have to live and learn to see what works.

We did dry pail, too. Washed once in cold, once in hot, with some Arm&Hammer washing soda and a splash of white vinegar.

Cloth diapering seemed daunting at first, but turned out to be super easy and has saved us a ton of money. My number one tip for anyone getting started would be to talk to the really nice folks at Babyworks, who can answer most any question you have.

We went the disposable diaper route. During my teenage babysitting years, I had horribly squeamish experiences with swirling around smelly cloth diapers in the toilet with a stick to remove the poo. Of course, I did absolutely no research prior to childbirth to find that cloth diapers are so much cuter and easier than 20 years ago. Ah well, maybe if there's a second kid, I'll give cloth a shot. For disposables, the 7th Generation diapers did the trick. They're unbleached and sold at natural food stores like Wild Oats. Even babysitters that were skeptical of those "weird brown hippie diapers" came around in the end, saying, "man, those really hold a lot!"

My husband and I use cloth with our 9 month old, and have been happy with the decision. Earlygirl has had almost no diaper rash, compared to kids we know who use disposables.

We use Tidee Didee. I know a mom who hated them (she thought they were cheating her on the number of diapers), but we have not seen that problem and it suits me not to soak and wash diapers. (I may be lazy, but I feel like I'm doing enough laundry already.)

When Earlygirl was tiny I bought several different brands of wraps. I got them at Babyworks, which I highly recommend. Those folks are super nice (they let me shop on a day I wandered in, even though they were not official open). I bought one of each of Nikky, Bummis, Bumpkins and Niji, but ended up liking Pro-Wraps better. They are polyester, so not as green as the wool ones, but they work great as leak protection, the girl doesn't get sweaty, and they wash and dry easily.

I second Kate's note that cloth diapering is easy.

I am so happy that I made the decision to switch from disposables to cloth. I debated about it for about 3 months, and I finally made the change when my daughter was 6 months old. I chose Fuzzibunz and I am thrilled with the decision! A a price of $15 (with the microfleece insert)per diaper, I have repeatedly read that mamas feel that they are too pricey. But considering that one pack of disposables is that price and that my daughter will wear this one size from 6 months until about 2 years....I felt like it was a bargain. We are almost 4 months into them, and they look brand new.

I have about 24 diapers. I invested about $260 (you can get cheaper if you buy in bulk...I got mine at www.softclothbunz.com from WAHM Brianna) I wash every 3.5 days. Just throw the load in the wash, first a cold soak cycle without detergent, then a hot wash with Seventh Degeneration detergent. I have had no problems with residual smells or stains.

I truly feel that it has been the best decision for our family. The surface is so soft and it stays dry (the insert pulls all the moisture)...and it does not have the HORRIBLE disposable smell. And we have had no more of those nasty up-the-back blowouts which I personally think are much worse to clean up than a poopy cloth diaper! And finally, I am not so stressed about driving to Fred Meyers to get more diapers all the time!

We also use Fuzzi Bunz stuffed with cloth prefolds and/or inserts, depending on how long she'll be in the diaper. We had a hard time figuring out what to do when the poop changed from breastmilk only to solids. Finally, we arrived at this solution: We purchased a sprayer (from BelleBottoms.com) that attaches to the cold water spigot on the back of the toilet. When she poops, what rolls off gets flushed first. Then I put the diaper in the toilet and use the sprayer to rinse off any residual muck. After that, diapers go in a sink in the laundry room that is filled with warm water, a bit of Trader Joe's lavender detergent and some Borax. Every few days all diapers go in a heavy duty wash cycle with an unscented detrgent and some more Borax.

The whole process takes a few minutes a day, plus about 10 minutes on wash days. And there is NO poopy smell in our house because there is no poop in our house! Also, before switching to cloth, our daughter got a lot of diaper rashes. Now she never gets them anymore.

One more tip, Mother Nature's out on SE Clinton is anther good resource for all things cloth diaper related.

We use Tidee Didee and are SO happy. While it's not as cheap as washing your own, the convenience more than makes up for it in my mind (and they're still cheaper and much more eco-friendly than disposables). The nice thing about TD's diapers is they treat them in some special kind of wash that makes it so they don't really smell. Every once in awhile, when we throw a really gnarly poopy diaper in the diaper pail it gets a little ripe by the end of the week, but for the most part they're not noticeable. Not like the disgusting way poopy disposables can stink up an entire house... We already feel like we're drowning in laundry, so the diaper service is the only way I could convince hubby to go cloth. Now he's a total convert!

Up until my baby was about 4 months old, we used the unbleached prefolds which I bought online (diaperpin.com was a great resource). We had some Chinese, some Indian and some hemp fleece. I loved the Snappi fasteners which were far less of a hassle than pins. For outings and night time, we used the prefolds with a wool jersey cover and hemp fleece doublers. Someone gave us a wipes warmer, which we put moist cloth wipes in with a couple of drops of tea tree oil. The wipes would go in the wash with the diapers.
As we started infant potty training fairly early, when our baby started to poop less frequently around 4 months of age, we switched to fitted diapers, with velcro fastening. These were easier to get on and off. I bought some of the diapers and vinyl covers (new and used) online and some from kids resale stores. Orangestarfish.com is a place to buy used diapers. Also Ebay. And I even bought diaper "seconds" from some online stores. As fitted diapers and covers are expensive, I sewed a few but most were sewn by my crafty mother-in-law.
Diapers with pee on 'em I have in a diaper bin. Diapers that have a little poop I have soaked in half a bucket of cold water. The washing routine is easy. I wash every 2 or 3 days. All diapers go into the washing machine on hot with a half a load's worth of washing detergent (Soapworks) and half a cup of baking powder. I used to do a cold wash and then a hot wash. As my baby only rarely poops in his diapers now, I only do a hot wash. Then, drying on the line is best for bleaching out stains and killing any germs, though since coming to Portland recently I'm lamenting having to use the dryer so much.
One of the best investments I made was buying the Little Squirt Water Sprayer from weebees.com (http://www.weebees.com/prodinfo.asp?number=31-10-LS).
Fifty odd dollars well spent. No dunking or scraping of diapers. Brilliant. Overall, I think cloth diapers are not necessarily a cheap way to go as you experiment to find what kind of diaper works for you, but I feel so much happier to be keeping yukky diapers out of our landfills. Oh, and infant potty training gets your baby in the habit of pooping in the potty from early on, so handling diapers with just pee on 'em, is easy peesy!

Does anyone know how I could take a look at the diapers that Tidee Didee uses? I was really interested in using them, but I would like to use a few samples to see how it all works. When I emailed Tidee Didee, they told me they have a store, but I can't make it during their limited store hours. Any ideas?

How does washing everything twice make things more ecologically friendly? I guess water isn't a valuable natural resource, right? Or having some diaper delivery truck cruise around on valuable Middle East-derived gasoline?

I remember doing research into cloth/disposables a long time ago, and somehow came to the bottom line conclusion that from a strict ecological perspective, the impact is about the same; if you live in an area where landfill space is at a premium (say, New York), cloth is better. If you live in an area where water is at a premium (say, the southwest) disposables are.

What I can't remember is whether that evaluation takes into account the energy/chemicals used to create the diapers in the first place.

Has anyone else ever heard that?

And SF Momma - most people drive to the store to buy diapers. So there's gas involved either way. Not sure that objection really holds.

I'm currently CD'ing 2 boys, and have been doing this since the first was born. We've tried everything over time...

We used Tiddee Diddee for the first couple of months of our oldest's life. To answer one person's question -- they use bleached chinese prefolds that get LOTS of mileage before they pull them out of rotation. We never had a sample, though. Very handy service, and an excellent way to see if we were willing to go to the extra effort that CDing requires. We did get screwed on the back end with them regarding diaper counts - they claimed I had lost 18 of them, and it was a fiasco to negotiate a fee I was willing to pay for diapers I didn't lose.

Once our oldest got to about 15lbs, we switched to laundry at home, and it wasn't an issue. An extra 2 loads per week, but the fashion factor was great, so I never cared. We used prefolds, WAHM made fitteds, and gradually worked our way to All In Ones (AIO), which we are still using. I have about every brand there is, including the popular Fuzzi Bunz (there are several reasons these aren't my favorites, by the way). Our favorite is Happy Heiny. I purchase on the net, they fasten by velcro -- so lightning fast. Their solid colors are 2ml PUL, so no bed leakage. Their patterns are beyond cute, and it's fun to pick great boy stuff.

I am reusing the smaller dipes for our younger son, and had to add some prefolds to carry us through his first few months of life.

We also use cloth wipes (with lavender and tea tree oil).

To line the diapers, I bought some fleece (at Rose City Textiles) and cut it to line our diapers. I only have ever had to rince those liners (which don't absorb water) with solid-food poo. I have used the kushie flushable liners, but hated the waste and repurchasing factor.

After reading the comments above regarding the ecological controversy of disposable vs cloth, I have heard that it may come out equal in the end with regards to energy consumption, etc. What tipped the scales in my opinion was that it was more cost effective and better for my baby to CD. Reusable for a second child...and no more of those superabsorbent chemical gels beads/course paper on my babies tush!

As a mother I chose cloth diapers for my children. Before becoming a mother I babysat and changed cloth diapers at most houses. In those days it was the old fold em yourself style, with pins, and rubber pants. A whole lot different than today.

Today is day 3 in our cloth diaper experience. Our beautiful little girl is 4 months now and look adorable in her diaper covers. Its a bit more bulkier than the disposables, but so cute. I made the decision to switch after reading what goes into a disposable. I just couldn't have that pressed up on her tush! Plus, I felt like it was the right decision for our environment. Somehow I feel less guilty. My experience has been short, but I've read all of the comments and have use most of the information here for my own cloth diaper routine. I bought a box of wipes at Costco a month ago and we still have tons left so I'll continue to use them until they are gone, then go for the cloth wipes. Thank all of you for your posts, it has really made this switch easier.

I've been using cloth diapers since my daughter was born, five months ago. We started with Tidee Didee and quit after the first month. It seems like a waste of money to us. Washing on our own is only 2 or 3 extra loads of laundry per week. On an aside, TD charged us $14 for an extra week of usage, even though we gave them 2 weeks notice to cancel (boo). We bought prefolds on eBay for $35 and got some hand-me-down Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers. Things were going okay, but my daughter has really skinny legs, and apparently is a heavy wetter. Long story short, we had to give up using the prefolds/wraps because we were changing her diaper every 60 min, and had more blow outs than we would have liked. After experimenting with bumGenius, Happy Heinys, Swaddlebees and Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers, we are a Fuzzi Family. I bought mine on craigslist from a mom who only used them a few times. They have been great. I can't say enough about them. The colors are cute, the snaps mean there is no velcro diaper snake in the washer, and we have never had a leak through the fabric. Occasionally we get leaks out the legs, but like I said, my daughter's got some skinny little legs. The cut offers full coverage without being bulky, and the fleece that touches baby's skin is super soft and washes clean every time. If she outgrows her size mediums before she's potty trained, I will buy the next size up for sure.

If you are thinking about joining the growing ranks of cloth diaper users or are using them and want to share some tips, please come to Milagros on 4/25 at 11 am for our Cloth Diapering Intro Class - it is FREE and no RSVP is required.

More info is here:



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