I hate to do laundry. My husband & I both mostly hate it, actually. It’s so nice to have those fresh clean clothes, but hanging them up to dry, sorting them, etc… it’s all so mundane. Slow going & not instantly satisfying, as maybe we’d like it to be once in awhile if we’re being honest. So, this post isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense at first! Why in heavens name would we choose to do cloth– when our little one arrived– if we didn’t LOVE laundry!? Well, i’ll give you some tips: We aren’t perfect about it. Nothing is perfect about cloth diapering in our household. And I’m not really OCD about a lot of things, so I suppose it would be more annoying to me if I were, but we’ll get to all of that. A BIG disclaimer: We’re still learning as we go. We like to do that a lot around our house, and I’m aware that it may sound slapdash but it’s how we live. If we find better ways of doing things, we’ll adapt, but this is whats working now. It’s definitely not perfect, and it’s probably wrong in some ways (if you have a way that works better, please let me know!) but too bad. : ) The reason I’m dedicating a post to this topic is because of the few people who have inquired about our CDing methods. Here’s our down-low! Hooray!
Why did we choose to cloth diaper?
At first, the environment.
Here we go. Weeeee! Well, we did a ton of research. In the beginning, we were considering the environment. We aren’t often afraid of being different because we want to create some positive change, so we thought it would be a great idea to do this for the environment. Upon further investigation, hubby discovered that CDs aren’t really that much better for the environment. They are still using up energy when they are manufactured. They still go in landfills–maybe in a delayed way, but they still do. The manufacturing process still uses chemicals, unless you’re a lucky one who has all organic diapers. So, it turned out that they aren’t too much better for mama earth afterall–UNLESS you choose to purchase used ones. Yippee, right?! Buying used is always one of my favorite things, no matter the bad rap people give it. When items have a second or third go-around, it’s great for the earth & for my pocketbook. Total win-win. So, with that said, many of our cloth diapers are not second-hand, because family & friends are amazing & they blessed us a LOT! But, now that August is getting to be quite a bit bigger than his little cute newborn diapers, it’s time to purchase new things… so I’m going the used route on many of them. Awesome. I get to give mama earth a big high five, and keep some change while I’m at it. There are many other reasons (such as comfort, decreased chemical exposure, etc.) why we cloth diaper now, but this was the biggie for our fam.
What the heck?! We have to do WHAT?!
Realizing that CDing ain’t all glitz & glamour.
So as I was contemplating CDing, and as hubby was reading an article about CDing, we realized nearly simultaneously that you have to fling poo. Not only do you fling it (as happens often in the diapering world anyhow, no matter what)–but according to many resources, you must “spray it” or fling it over the toilet. No can do, we said. The buck stopped there. We’re going to do WHAT after our baby does WHAT?! Okay… so this was before he was born, and little did we know how much of this stuff was actually going to be all over us at certain points of the day. However, we still don’t like the idea of trying to spray off everything and get the poo out in order to keep diapers way more stain-free & maintain their long lives. Our solution? It may gross you out, but I don’t mind. I am not big on stain removal for diapers. Who is going to be inspecting the inside of my baby’s prefold or FuzzyBunz anyhow? Probably just me & hubs. So on that note, we simply toss the diaper in the wet/dry bag (which are ADORABLE, by the way, we buy the Planet Wise ones, and we have yet to complain about them in three months or so) and then wash. The wash is a bit intense, but I’ll explain. I do have to add that the prefolds we use to get to looking pretty gross even when they’re clean, and I don’t like bleach, so I sun bleach them. This works really well for me–especially if I wet them down before sunning them! So there you have it, our dirty secret. We don’t spray our poo!
SunnyBuns. DiaperDelights. Fuzzy-something or others. Weird names & too many options! What do I do!?
Tons of options. Tons of features. Choose a few.
We have a stash of a few different kinds of diapers, which you see featured here:
From left to right; (older version) Fuzzy Bunz, Econobum, Thirsties, Flip. How many times can you say that fast?! There are a million gazillion types of CD’s, and it was all so annoying and overwhelming. From what I can tell, they all have things that I enjoy and they also have their downfalls, kind of like most disposables. I enjoy the easy quick use of the Fuzzy Buns, because they have an insert that you stick into the diaper (there is a pocket) and bam–you put it on just like a normal diaper. This one is great to use if you would like your babysitter or family members to use CD’s while watching them. The Flip also uses an insert-type microfiber piece. Both of these are very stain resistent from what I’ve seen, so if you’re big on that–these would be great. The Econobum & Thirsties are both pretty awesome–I love the leg gussets (little things on the sides of the legs to hold the prefold diaper in) on the Thirsties, and the Econobum is very form fitting because the whole diaper is stretchy and so fits to baby.
So what do you buy? I have really appreciated having a variety, and I don’t think you’re going to know what will work until you can try it on your baby. Every babys bod is different, every baby changes differently as they grow. Some were better when he was smaller, others are better now that his little chubby frame has filled out some more. Don’t be scared to do something new. Ask a pal if they have some you can try until you figure out what works. Go with it.
How did you say I wash them??
Tons of methods, once again.
We use Tide. Dye Free, Fragrance Free. I also create my own detergent for our clothes that uses Dr. Bronners, which I got from Passionate Homemaking, but it isn’t enough for the CD’s. Those need the strong stuff to get all the smell out. But lots of people try lots of things, there are even things like Rockin’ Green Detergent that are made especially for CD’s! Amazing. So this is what I do:
1. We wait until we get quite a few dirty ones. 3-4 days, probably, or a little more. Like I said, I’m not OCD!
2. We toss ‘em into the washer, making sure there are no bioliners (liners that help to soak up excess moisture & keep baby’s bum dry, but flushable) or wipes (we use both disposable & cloth wipes!) in the diapers. No biggie if there are, but it can be a pain.
3. We do a cold rinse.
4. We do a hot wash, using tide.
5. We do a hot rinse.
6. We line dry what we can, warm dryer the Fuzzy Bunz & others that specify to use the dryer. We always put our prefolds in the dryer because it helps them to stay absorbent and fluffy. Line drying covers like Thirsties, Flips, & Econobums helps to maintain more life in them.
So that is our basic plan. It is subject to all kinds of changes great and small, and I’m always open to trying a new kind of diaper if it seems to have an advantage. Hopefully this is helpful, and hopefully you think it’s a lot more do-able. Trust me, I thought we were crazy when we were first starting out. Mostly because it seemed like we were in over our heads, and learning all sorts of new things with our first baby. But once you dip your toes in and get comfy, it’s really not too bad!
Oh Yeah… One more thing.
A thought about polarized living:
I know it, you know it. We’ve all seen it. The mom who is a total nazi about breastfeeding–one ounce of formula, ever, for any reason, and your child is screwed (in her eyes)! You must ONLY breastfeed! She doesn’t care what your circumstances are. Or… The family who frowns upon others because they don’t have the best of everything, or the newest gadget with an apple emblem. One old lappy & you’re not cool anymore! There are also the cloth diaper Joneses, and I’m not keeping up with them. One little disposable & you’re a horrible person! They see your child at church wearing a disposable diaper, and they ask you, “But I though you were Cloth Diapering!” Yes.. we are… and he’s wearing a disposable right now. We’re all about being flexible with how we do it, though I really do try to use cloth diapers when I am able. When August goes to his babysitter’s twice a week, there are usually some CD’s in his bag (if we have clean ones) but always disposables. If we’re running late, we’ll grab them. Life calls for being able to change plans, and disposables are always a great backup. We’re big advocates for doing what works. Right now, we often use disposables at night because they just seem to hold more long term (and at night, he mostly just pees a lot). I’m sorry but I’m not going to wake my child from a deep, peaceful slumber because his diaper needs to be changed–so we put him in a disposable. Do what works for you, and remember that others are doing the same most of the time. Sometimes, we just can’t keep up with doing it all, all of the time.
Here are a few resources that might help:
PLUS: Babies look SO cute in cloth! Let me know if I didn’t cover something that you were dying to know, and if you have any burning questions.