Friday, June 28, 2013

Clean Living: Cloth Diapering Our Little One

So I am pretty convinced that I want to cloth diaper our little bundle. There's a number of reasons we have decided to go this route, but I will just list a few.

  1. We can save some big dinero. This is especially important in the long run of raising a family. 
  2. We won't be putting our little babies into little chemical pouches aka disposable diapers. 
  3. We prevent unnecessary waste. I feel convicted about this like I feel convicted about composting. 
  4. And a bonus: babies look super cute in cloth diapers. 
Now that list isn't very long, but it is long enough for us! Though I want to move forward this way, I have to admit that I am a little bit intimidated. I know many people who cloth diaper and love it, but I also know people who have invested in cloth diapers and end up not being able to handle it. I am hoping we will be a part of the first type of people. :)

Here are some questions/concerns I have, but they aren't strong enough to keep from trying!

  1. How will my husband handle these diapers? Lord knows, he will definitely be changing diapers alongside me. 
  2. How will laundry look in our household? Right now I do laundry once a week for the two of us. I know that will change, but how much will it change?
  3. Lord have mercy! The upfront cost! 'Nough said. 
  4. Connected to all of these: what diaper should we go with?!
I have recently been reading a blog called A Mama Collective, written by Jenna Guizar. From what I heard and now from what I have come to know, she is a cloth diaper guru! Her blog has been extremely helpful to me when it comes to addressing those concerns.

Danny and Diapering. I know there are options out there that Danny will feel comfortable handling. The good thing (and maybe the bad thing at the same time) is that there are many options with cloth diapering-lots of different avenues to take and methods to try.

Laundry will change. I might have to do diaper loads 2-3 times a week. And this will involve different detergent and sun-drying the diapers. I figure with a good method, this will be no different than just doing laundry on a Saturday morning. I expect to do laundry on Saturdays, so it is no big deal. I will just expect to wash diapers on certain days, and life will be good. Maybe a new normal, but good.

$$$. That is what I see when I look for cloth diapers. I have thought about buying some on Craigslist, but in all honesty, that weirds me out. I will buy furniture and supplies on CL, but I just can't bring myself to buy cloth diapers. I know there are cheaper ways of cloth diapering and more expensive ways of cloth diapering. So why not go with the cheapest? Seeing $ is way better than seeing $$$. Yes, yes, but that brings us back to concern numero uno. The cheapest form of cloth diapering is to use diaper covers and flats or pre-folds, but as much as I love my husband and my husband loves me, I do not see him doing this. Plus, I will be going back to work after my maternity leave, and I want to make diapering as easy as possible for my niece, Shiyah, who will be loving on our little girl while we are at work. I also know that while the initial cost is $$$, the overall cost for diapering is $.

The Choices. While there are lots of options, my three choices have been narrowed down to the following:

1. Flips and Flat

  • Cheapest option for us, running us $125.7 for the diapers. (I would buy two packs since you need about 18-24 diapers for an infant.) 
  • Laundry seems like it would be the simplest process. As far as I understand, you only would need to wash the flat, since you can wipe down the flip (the diaper cover) pretty easily. Plus, if the baby ends up using a ton of diapers for some reason, that just necessitates more flats (which aren't expensive) versus a whole new diaper.
  • One-Size Fits "All" capability. These covers have snaps so they will fit as the baby grows. The only exception is newborn size babies. 

  • We would all have more work to do when diapering. I wouldn't mind, but I want to make it as easy for Shiyah or for whoever else might be watching the little one. 

  • I think we will buy one set of these, so a dozen. These can be more of the weekend days off diapers that mommy will handle most readily. :)
2. BumGenius Pocket OS (One Size) Diaper

  • A little bit more dinero, but not the most expensive option. To buy six would cost us $86.90 ($14.48/diaper for a diaper that usually runs around $18).
  • A little more daddy-friendly. This is almost like a disposable diaper in that you put it on exactly like a disposable. When it gets dirty, daddy can just take it off, put in the wet bag, and put a new one on the little toosh. Easy Peasy. 
  • Again, these are OS fits "all" so we can still use them as the baby grows.
  • Both parts of this diaper, the cover and the piece you use to stuff the diaper, must be washed (unlike the flip). That means you "lose" a diaper once it is dirtied, unlike the flips where you just need a new flat. 
  • A little bit more work in that the pocket diaper has to be stuffed, but this seems manageable. 

  • I think we will buy at least 6 of these, since the deal is buy 5 get 1 free. So if we get a dozen Flip and Flats and 6 Pocket Diapers, that puts us at 18. What about the other 6 to get us to the necessary 24? That question brings us to our last option. 
3. BumGenius All-in-One (AIO) OS Diaper

  • Daddy-friendliest of them all. This diaper is most like a disposable. It literally is exactly like it in all ways except that it is cloth and you do not throw it away. Everything is sewn in so there is no stuffing of pockets or folding of flats. 

  • This diaper is the most expensive and would run us $117 for 6! That is quite the bullet to bite. 
  • The laundry is simple in that there is one step-throw the whole diaper in the wash-but it also takes the longest to dry since it is all sewn together. I know they created a new design to help this a long, but still. And a wet diaper is a wet diaper, whether it is wet from the wash or wet from a baby. 

  • I am undecided here. Originally I thought we would just do AIO, but the more I look at the cost the less I want to do it. Plus, a pocket diaper is almost an AIO....almost...and it seems almost as daddy-friendly as the AIO. So I am not sure. We might buy 6 of these, or we might buy 6 more BumGenius Pocket Diapers. Any thoughts?


  1. We used the BumGenius OS pocket diapers and they were/are great. They are super easy to "stuff"--really, so easy! We pre-stuffed them all out of the laundry when she was tiny, but eventually just switched to setting the pile of covers and pile of inserts next to the changing mat and stuffing one when we needed it (it takes like 20 seconds, if that). So simple! And you can pre-stuff for a baby sitter and it will be just like a disposable! Abigail is potty training now, but the diapers I bought with her have enough use left in them that I am planning to use them (at least at first) with this baby. They are a bit up-front, but they're worth it for the ease (yes, Daddy had no troubles) and, at least on her, they fit well. Plus, I got a bunch of mine on ebay (there are used, which is a matter of opinion, but there are also new that are often less per-diaper, if you do the math. Not always if BumGenius is running a great sale, though.) Oh, and I recommend the snaps--they're not quite as adjustable as velcro, of course, but the velcro is ALWAYS the first thing to die and makes washing a bigger pain. You have to put little covers on the velcro tabs or they'll wear out even faster from snagging on the other things in the wash. So yeah, snaps have a much longer life (a cloth diapering friend recommended snaps to me when I was researching and she was so right). Line drying is the best, and I mostly managed that while we were in Illinois (and you should be ok in AZ), but I did have to switch to using the dryer when we moved to Seattle--our yard is too shady and it is very damp here anyway. Line dried the elastics wore well, and even having to dry them on low they still lasted pretty well (like I said, I don't anticipate needing any re-stock right away with this new baby). You do need to wash at a minimum every other day--any longer in the diaper pail and the ammonia buildup will cause the elastics to degrade much more quickly. Some folks wash every day to avoid the smell build-up, but I found every other worked well. Whew, sorry this is so long! Oh, and if you start having trouble with the ph in the diapers not washing out so well, use baking soda and vinegar rinses (more on that if you need the data, just ask!). That generally doesn't come up until you have an older baby, though. Good luck and have fun!

    1. Thanks, Jocelyn! I had heard about the snaps v. velcro, so we will definitely be going with the snaps! Congrats on baby number 2 and your beautiful family!

  2. Hey Katie,
    We had pretty much the exact same concerns when we started figuring out cloth diapering, but things have resolved very differently from how we had expected. On the husband diaper front, things definitely changed drastically from Andrew's expectations. First, being that dealing with Emma's poop is a lot less gross because it's actually his baby. He tells dads this every time we discuss cloth diapers because it just doesn't gross him out anywhere near what he expected because it's his kid. He has probably sprayed more batches of diapers than I have. (Getting a diaper sprayer from bumgenius made this entirely possible. We got one used for $30 and it makes the entire cloth diaper process a million times better). Second, a lot of our diapers are a lot easier than expected and contain leaks way better than disposables (as in, Emma is about 11 weeks old and we have not had a single poop leak).
    We had originally planned to do all one-size diapers to avoid buying in multiple batches, but that changed a few weeks before Emma was born. We ended up getting some all-in-one newborn size diapers (rumparooz, bumgenius, and kissaluvs) which made it a lot easier to get used to cloth diapering and fit her butt into her little onesies! The one-size just wouldn't fit.
    That being said, now that she's in her long-term diapers, we've really changed our view on the easiest (and most cost efficient) diapering option. We got pretty much every type of cloth diaper option to see what we liked best (flats/prefolds with covers, gdiapers, all-in-one, all-in-two, pockets, and fitteds with covers). Overall, washing has been a lot easier than expected. As long as we wash every other day (almost all of them say not to leave them dirty for more than 2 days without washing), it's really simple. We machine dry on delicate as long as we have access to a good quality dryer and they stay in great shape.

    1. Here's what we like/dislike about each kind:
      Prefolds/Flats with Covers--cheap, but not nearly effective enough. We had poop get on the covers all the time and they were a lot more hassle to get on. We stopped using this system altogether pretty quick and those diapers all became burp cloths...
      Fitteds--Love, love, love so much more than expected. They absorb soooo much and you can use a doubler when needed. To boot, they're pretty cost effective since fitteds themselves run cheaper than AIO's and you only need a handful of covers. The thirsties fitteds come in size 1 and size 2 to last from birth through potty-training and they have genuinely fit well since birth. They are also really easy to spray poop off because the surface is smooth (microfleece or something, I forget). Now that we've had time to experiment with all the types, these are the ones we're going to stash up more of.
      Pockets--Absorb well, clean well, but a hassle to re-stuff each time you wash them. When we were planning, we figured that it wouldn't be so much more time to just stuff them when putting diapers away. Now that putting the diapers away happens so often and Emma doesn't really allow that to be a leisurely process, it is a lot less convenient and we end up stuffing them as we're putting them on Emma and things get more hectic. It's not a terrible option, but it doesn't work well for us.
      All-in-Two--The only type we tried was the Flip diaper. Not bad at all, similar to using a fitted diaper, but the absorbent material is a rectangular insert in the middle instead of everywhere. We haven't had any problems with these, but we're not as confident in them. It is convenient to just have a big stack of Flip inserts and a few covers. Extra bonus, they have disposable inserts available for times when it's just more practical (or necessary because of travel or laundry back-up).
      All-in-One--Simple to use, but more expensive than fitted+cover and harder to spray. We only have bumgenius all-in-ones for one-size and they're harder to spray out because of the flaps hanging down and the waterproof part often times doesn't cover all the absorbent area around her leg openings. We, especially Andrew, expected this to be our go-to diaper, but it's become a back-up to the fitteds. We like them, but when putting more money in, we aren't getting more.
      Gdiapers--So nice and trim, affordable, compostable disposable inserts as an option, and good fit. We like these a lot because of how they don't leak and fit well, but they aren't an one-size option so you have to get more at different sizes. The velcro on the back makes it hard for bigger kids to pull them off (although snaps achieve that goal, too). The whole removable insert makes it super compact to take multiple diapers in the diaper bag without taking up a ton of space, but when poop gets on the plastic it's kind of annoying to spray off.
      As far as up front cost, amazon will have certain colors cheaper at different times, target online has pretty good prices, and the websites like diaperjunction and kelly's closet do reward points that you can cash back in for credit as well as run promotions of free diapers or wet bags.

      I hope that helps! I know it's long, but I really liked getting as many people's opinions as possible when we were picking. If you have any questions that I could help with, just let me know! We tried a lot of brands, too, so if you're wondering about quality of a particular diaper I might be able to give you some info there.

      Good luck!!
      PS-I love your blog background!

    2. Thank you so much! This has been really helpful!