I hope you all found the cloth diaper series to be informative and hopefully inspiring.  I would love to hear comments or questions.  If anyone has decided to try cloth diapers I would love to hear that as well. 

As I have said in my previous posts, there are many benefits to cloth diapering, the biggest benefit to us is the fact that we are not contributing to the tons of waste in our landfills.  It’s also nice that we are saving money while helping our environment too. 

I would like to add, this is not an All or Nothing kind of commitment.  By choosing to cloth diaper, you don’t have to do it everyday and night 24/7.  Do what feels comfortable to you.  That’s the great thing about it, if you are feeling totally lazy, grab a disposable- the cloth diapering police aren’t going to write you a citation.  Every little bit counts.  As we found out in our presidential election- every vote counts.  So every cloth diaper you use is one less diaper in the landfill. 

Don’t be intimidated, buy one or two and try them out, see how you like them and I bet you’ll be a convert.

Happy diapering!

So here we are at part 3 of the cloth diaper series.  I’m sure your intrigue is growing and once you hear how easy it is to wash and care for the diapers you’ll be making your cloth diaper purchase immediately. 

I’m going to go over what works for our family.  Everyone has their own method that works for them so this is not an “end all be all” but we have found it to be simple, quick and clean. 

What you’ll need…

    1.  garbage can with lid (like a 13 gallon tall kitchen garbage can- we prefer a lid that flips easy – makes for easy baskets – you know when you’re tossing it from across the room and it makes the swoosh!)

   2.  reusable pail liner ( you can find these at most cloth diaper sites – I bought ours from Green Mountain Diapers and we like to have 2)

   3. 5 gallon bucket

   4. oxiclean

   5.  baking soda

   6. vinegar (optional)

 

Ok, so first you take your reusable pail liner and insert into your garbage can.  We have two liners, that way when one is being washed you have another one to use.  The liner is great for transporting the diapers from the pail to the washing machine.  You just empty the diapers into the washer and then throw in the liner too.  We pour baking soda in the liner to help neutralize the ammonia smell from the urine- this helps a lot (the lid is also a big help for keeping the smell out of the room).  So you see, instead of dropping your disposable into the garbage can you drop your cloth diaper into your diaper pail.  See how easy that is……

I forgot to mention – the diaper pail is only for wet(urine) diapers.  So you are probably more interested in what to do with the poopy  diapers, this is where the 5 gallon bucket comes in.  Fill up the bucket with some water (about 1/3 to 1/2 full and about 2 scoops of oxiclean- or some other oxygen based cleaner- these cleaners are safe to use with septic systems).  When you have a poopy diaper, shake off the solids into the toilet, sometimes you might have to swoosh around a bit in the toilet but try to get as much off as possible and then throw the soiled diaper into the bucket until you are ready to wash a load.  In the beginning when you have the seedy breastfed poops you can almost get away with just dropping it in the bucket without washing in the toilet first- but it may leave some stains on the diaper- so I suggest rinsing before dropping in the bucket.  Now, they do sell an attachment hose/sprayer for your toilet (to avoid having to swoosh your diaper around in the toilet) but I have not tried it so I can’t tell you whether it works or not.  So if the thought of swooshing your diaper in the toilet grosses you out – you might want to purchase this.  As I said in my first diaper post, once they start eating solids you can usually just shake off the solids into the toilet. 

Now you are ready to wash your first load…… since you have the reusable liner just pull that out of your pail and dump those wet diapers and covers into the washer and don’t forget the liner.  I should back up a bit….. I put all the covers in the pail with the diapers and if the covers have a little poop I soak them in the 5 gallon bucket with the poopy diapers.  Some don’t suggest washing your covers and diapers together- but again, I am always looking to make the process as easy as possible.  So back to washing, take the diapers and covers out of  the 5 gallon bucket and throw in with the other diapers and covers.  Do NOT dump the bucket in the washer (that water needs to be dumped in the toilet).  I start with a soak cycle with a scoop of oxiclean, on cold.  Next is a heavy cycle on warm/warm with biodegradable detergent (our detergent of choice is seventh generation free and clear or charlie’s soap).  Sometimes I run an extra rinse with a tablespoon of vinegar- I base this on the amount of heavily soiled diapers we have.  The rinse I run on cold. 

Because of Ryder’s severe allergies we can not line dry any of our clothes- we need to keep the pollen out of the house so it’s best to not line dry anything.  So we use the dryer on a low setting and we dry everything, diapers, covers, liner, etc.  Some suggest to line dry the covers- if you are worried about drying them you can line dry them (as well as the diapers).  It’s personal preference.  One of my girlfriends loves to line dry her diapers so in the summer that’s what she does. 

If you are concerned about the diapers not being clean enough, you can always run another wash cycle.  But in the 4 years we’ve been doing this, ours have always come out clean with the above method.  But again, it’s personal preference.

There you go, it’s that easy!  I’ve got some links to cloth diaper companies online- run over and put in your orders.  I look forward to hearing your stories about cloth diapering.  Please come back and let me know what you think about cloth diapers.  I would also love to hear what works for you and your family (if you are currently cloth diapering).

By the way – sorry for no pictures this time- my camera broke the other day and I just purchased a new one (my dream – my digital Canon SLR- I can’t wait to get it!!!!!)  So pictures to come.

So now that I have you intrigued let’s move on to the different types of cloth diapers.   I am going to stick to the handful of diapers that I use.  There are tons of choices out there and you’ll have to see what works best for you and your baby.  These are the ones that have worked for our family.

The Prefolds

prefoldsdec08

These are your basic cloth diapers- what you think of when you hear the word cloth diaper.  As you can see they come in multiple sizes.  I have  2 different sizes, the first size is the newborn- which we used past 4 months.  The second size is the Large.   It was a bit big in the beginning – but you can fold it over and it just adds extra absorbency.  If you want you can buy each size – you’ll just end up trading them out sooner and not getting as much use out of them.  We purchased about 24 newborns (this provided 2 days worth of diapers- at a diaper change per 2 hours which is usually how often our children ate).  Obviously some days we went through more.  And it’s good to wash every couple days- you don’t want them sitting around for too long.  We bought about the same with the large- but we don’t use as many per day so we end up washing every 3rd day or so. 

The prefolds are used in conjunction with a diaper cover.  Instead of using the pins (which was one of the biggest complaints from the past- worrying about stabbing your child), you fold these and insert them into a diaper cover which basically serves as the pin and it’s a protective layer between diaper and clothes.

Diaper covers

litewrapprint

This is the Litewrap, which is our favorite.  It’s pretty basic- no bells and whistles.  It has a snap on each side by the leg and then it clothes with velcro.  How easy is that?  Fold the prefold in thirds, lay inside the cover, close two snaps and slap down the velcro flaps and you are done!  Pretty much like a disposable.  The nice thing about these are that you can get a couple uses out of them (as long as it’s just pee you are changing and that you are making regular changes).  If it’s a poopy diaper- sometimes it’ll get on the cover, not always, but regardless, it’s nice to change out a diaper cover with a poopy diaper no matter what.  But if it’s just a wet diaper, for the most part, the diaper cover will be dry so all you have to do is remove the prefold and replace with a new one. 

The other good thing is these are roomy. Saige is still in the small diaper cover which says 10 -15lbs and she is over 20lbs.  So you will get a lot of use out of these.  I think they hold up great (and I am hard on the diapers) and they have all been through Ryder as well.  I only had to discard 2 due to tearing (mind you they went through Ryder and a couple wears with Saige).  I’d say that’s a pretty good life cycle. 

They are breathable and soft.  They are not those 1960’s/70’s plastic non breathable covers – they have really come a long way.

There is also a Cot’n Wrap which are the same except they are 100% cotton.  I found these to not be as protective as the lite wrap.  They are ok- just not one of my faves.

jan-08-040

The Bummis Super Whisper Wrap is my next favorite.  I found this one when Saige was born.  I was drawn to it because of the adorable print, but I found out that it is a great cover.  It is very similar to the Litewrap, it’s generously sized, it’s breathable, soft and you can get multiple uses out of it.  One difference is it doesn’t have the snaps, and I do like the snaps on the Litewraps because it helps keep a nice close fit by the leg.  This cover (like the Litewrap) can be washed with the diapers and come out just fine (it is not recommended but they will be fine).  Like anything when you become a parent and you are trying to juggle everything, you need things to be streamlined and convenient.  So who wants to run another load just for the covers?  This is why I have chosen the diapers and covers I have – they can all be washed and soaked together, dried together and they will last. 

jan-08-020

The Bummis Super Brite is another good one.  It’s a slimmer fit than the Litewrap and Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and has a slimmer fit in the legs- which helps prevent leakage.  Again, this diaper I found after Saige was born (obviously I was drawn to the fun colors) and I like to try out new diaper covers.  This one runs true to size, if not a smidge smaller.

thirsties_red

The Thirsties are also a new find for me.  It’s a lot like the Bummis Superbrites but just a slightly different fit.  The biggest difference than the Superbrites is it has a more generous fit.  So if you like the thinner cover but want a more generous fit this is the one for you.

Pocket Diapers

Now on to the pocket diapers.  Pocket diapers consist of an outer layer of waterproof material and an inner layer of microfleece or suedecloth, which helps to wick away moisture, keeping your baby dry and helps prevent diaper rash.  In between those layers is a “pocket” that you can stuff whatever material you wish, to customize the level of absorbency you need.  In our house we don’t use pocket diapers daily (Doug isn’t a big fan of the pocket diaper,because you only get one use out of them- which I tend to agree).  We use the pocket diapers when we do day trips (they are great for trips in the car and being out and about- because they wick away the moisture you can get a little more time between changes).  The pocket diapers are great as the overnight diaper.  They can hold a lot withouut leaking and they help keep your baby dry.  So these are our faves.

fuzzi-bunz

Fuzzi Bunz are the first pocket diaper I ever tried and I have been a repeat customer.  They are soft, they have multiple snaps on the front to customize the size and allow for growth.  They have a soft microfleece layer that is next to your baby’s skin and I love the fit.  You can use prefolds for extra absorbency inside, or use the special inserts created for pocket diapers.  We do both.

happy-heinys-one-size-group

Happy Heinys are a new addition to our collection.  I like these because of the one size – they grow with your baby.  They tend to be more pricey but you don’t need to buy multiple sizes, so it actually is very cost effective.  These have snaps on the front for adjusting size and close with velcro.  These too can be inserted with prefolds or special inserts.  The inside layer is extremely soft (even after multiple washings)

Now for the All in Ones. 

kushies

bumkins

These are the easiest ever to use.  If you are uncertain about cloth diapering this is the perfect diaper to use as a trial run.  There is no folding or stuffing involved.  It is just like using a disposable except it’s reusable.  It’s pretty much a waterproof outer layer with multiple layers of cotton flannel attached to the inside with velcro closure.  The two types I use are the Kushies and The Bumkins.  They are both pretty much the same, I don’t have a preference.  These are perfect for keeping in your diaper bag or when you need to run out the door and grab a diaper to throw in your purse for the “just in case”.  I definitely recommend having a couple of these on hand if you cloth diaper.

Accessories

Now there are so many additions to cloth diapers, the two that I use are the flushable liners and the fleece liners.  

 The liners are great if you have a child that has consistent poops.  Ryder was like clockwork.  He would eat and shortly after he would poop, so these came in handy because all you have to do is remove the liner (which has the poop on it) and plop it into the toilet.  It keeps the poop from getting on the prefold or pocket diaper which means no swooshing in the toilet or soaking.  Also, these liners are washable, so if your child doesn’t poop you can throw it in the wash with the rest of your diapers.  I will say I don’t use these all the time.  I have actually not used them yet with Saige because she’s not consistent at all. 

Now the fleece liners are great, especially with the prefolds.  They’re great for wicking away the moisture and are super soft.  You can even make your own, just buy some fleece and cut to size (it’s basically a rectangle).  I do use these a lot with Saige- she has very sensitive skin so this is just another added measure to keep the moisture off her bum. 

I hope the info above has made you even more interested in cloth diapering.  How can you pass up some of those adorable, colorful diaper covers!?  Also, if you weren’t crazy about the prefold diapers, there are the pocket diapers or even the all in ones (and countless others that I didn’t mention above).  There is something for everyone.   Some of my friends use the pocket diapers exclusively, others only use the prefolds, then there’s me who uses both and the all in ones.  I am always on the look out for what’s new in the cloth diaper world (even though I always go back to my old standbys). 

Have fun with it and try a couple different ones out and see what works for you. 

See you back for part 3, The Process, what works for us, what we use for cleaning the diapers, how we store the dirty diapers, how often we wash and more.

These aren’t your grandma’s cloth diapers.  I know most people cringe when they hear the words “cloth diapers”, you automatically think… YUCK!  Unsanitary, dirty, I have to touch poop, etc.  Yes, you possibly have to touch poop – but that’s also a possibility with disposables (basically when you have a kid you are signing up for poop contact).  As far as unsanitary or dirty – I don’t know what’s grosser than disposable diapers and the bizarre gel substance inside of them that fills up with pee – yuck!  And with disposables you tend to leave them on longer, which in my opinion is grosser than using a cloth diaper and changing more regularly.  With the invention of fleece, you can now use that as a liner with the cloth diaper to help wick away moisture (if you know you are going to be in the car for a bit longer than normal or for overnight or to extend the time between changes). 

As far as touching poop- well yes you will have to touch poop in the beginning (you know when it’s kinda seedy and very loose) but once they start eating solids you can usually just shake it off into the toilet (you’ll still have the occasional mushy ones that will need to be swooshed around in the toilet) but for the most part a good shake will do.  And really – we all know that as parents we end up touching much worse and for some reason your own kids poop/vomit/spit up, etc. doesn’t seem all that bad!

So now that we’re over the initial stigma attached to cloth diapers, let’s move on to the benefits………

     very cost effective

you make your initial purchase and then you’ll only have to purchase new size diaper covers, periodically (maybe twice a year as they grow) and if you use prefolds you will need to have 2 different sizes for the first year and that second size you buy during the first year will last till they’re out of diapers.  Then if you have multiple kids you will reuse them for each child (which makes them even more cost effective).  I am using all of Ryder’s diapers for Saige.  The only thing I have bought new were a couple cute girlie diaper covers and two new pocket diapers that were girlie too (couldn’t resist), pure vanity. 

       Good for Mother Earth

Now I know there’s a big debate over this… the amount of water and chemicals to clean the cloth diapers vs. the disposables.  Well, if you wash your own diapers it’s hands down better.  I use biodegradable detergent and vinegar, I have a front loader which doesn’t use as much water and you don’t need to wash them as much as some of the sites say.  You are good with a heavy wash and then a rinse (sometimes I do a soak- if there’s a lot of poopy ones).  As far as drying goes, you can line dry (which saves energy) or machine dry (and if you have a front loader you know that they come out so dry from the spin on those things that you barely need to dry them in the dryer. 

Now a commercial service will use stronger cleaning agents and more water- but you might be able to find one that doesn’t and is more earth friendly.  Some services even take the lint from the laundered diapers and use it as coffin stuffing.  Now that’s really cradle to grave!

As far as disposables go- here is some info I have run across…….

Some concerns about disposable diapers have been about dyes, sodium polyacrylate (the super absorbent gel), and dioxin, which is a by-product of bleaching paper.  Sodium polyacrylate has been linked in the past to toxic shock syndrome, allergic reactions and is very harmful and potentially lethal to pets. Some dyes and dioxin according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is known to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. The (FDA) Food & Drug Administration has received reports that fragrances in disposables caused headaches, dizziness and rashes.  Problems reported to the Consumer Protection Agency regarding disposables include, chemical burns, noxious chemical and insecticide odors, babies pulling disposables apart and putting pieces of plastic into their noses and mouth, choking on tab papers and linings, plastic melting onto the skin, and ink staining the skin.  Plastic tabs can also tear skin if the diaper is not properly put on the baby. 

It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone.  Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun.  Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing.

The untreated waste placed in landfills by dirty disposable diapers is also a possible danger to contaminating ground water

            Earlier potty training

Many people swear that their children potty trained earlier because they could actually feel their diapers being wet or dirty.  Now this theory didn’t prove true with Ryder- but he was like that from birth- he never cried with a wet diaper.  So we’ll see if it is true for Saige.

             No chemicals next to babies skin

We will go to such great measures to buy the safest soap, diaper cream, etc. but have no problem letting our kids sit in a diaper treated with chlorine and some toxic gel substance that soaks up urine and who knows what kind of crazy leaching is occurring with that gel onto the babies bottoms (which, by the way, is your largest organ). 

               And to me, there is nothing cuter than that big bottomed cloth diapered baby!

So now that I have you all interested in cloth diapering, my next post will be about the different types of diapers available.

See you all back here for the next part of cloth diapers 101

Welcome 2009!  I am always happy to ring in a new year.  Every year is a new adventure and new beginnings. 

So keeping with that theme, I have decided to revamp my blog a bit and try to be a bit more organized and not so random.  I do like the randomness of my blog ( I will keep some of that alive and well) but I wanted to start focusing on certain topics and get more info out there to families. 

So I will be focusing on one topic per month, and during the month I will be interjecting some randomness too (keeping everyone up to date on the Calhoun’s adventures).  I am going to provide a favorite recipe per month and a favorite family craft.  I will be doing giveaways randomly (possibly monthly or every other month)  I will try to tie the giveaways to the topic of the month.   I may add some things along the way- this is definitely an ever evolving platform for me. 

So with that said, this months topic is one of my faves – cloth diapering.  I know I have talked about it before, but I will be giving more information and hopefully answering some of your questions you may have about cloth diapering.

So I hope to see everyone back and I hope you will enjoy the new and improved Bellamadris.

Happy New Year!

We’ve been using all of our diapers and covers from Ryder for Saige, but I have finally decided that some of the covers are just too worn so I went to my favorite place to order diapers and covers (greenmountaindiapers.com) and ordered a couple new covers for Saige.  They are so cute and girlie ( I couldn’t resist). 

girlie diaperflower cover

But as I was browsing through the website I stumbled upon the “how to” page- wondering if there were any differences with diapering a girl vs. a boy – I found my new favorite way to fold the “prefolds”  – it’s called the “twist”.  You twist the diaper in the center and fan out the front and the back.  It leaves less bulk but still gives that added absorbency in all the right places.  If you are into cloth diapering check it out and give it a try.  So far so good.

the twist

According to Franklin & Associates and The American Petroleum Institute…..

It takes 3.5 BILLION gallons of oil and 250,000 trees to produce the 18 BILLION disposable diapers used every year! 

There is little chance of disposable diapers EVER decomposing.

An estimated 6,000 – 10,000 disposable diapers are used per child per year!

These are some staggering statistics.