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?