I read Theresa’s post about cloth diapering for non-crunchy mamas and I was like, “Yes, that is so me!” And then I read Jenna’s Ronald Reagan Guide to Essential Oils (um, best title for a blog post ever) and I decided to do my own little mini-series about some crunchy parenting stuff for people who do not wear hemp sandals. We cloth diaper too, and do some other “crunchy” stuff like babywearing and co-sleeping (well, we actually just moved Will to a crib but we used to co-sleep) but I am so not crunchy. Hello, I camp at the Ritz. Duh.
I’d like to just preface this with the disclaimer that I have one child and he’s about 7 months old. So, you should probably not listen to anything I say, or at least also listen to people with more and older children.
So, why does someone who is definitively not crunchy choose to cloth diaper?
1. I’m cheap. Or I can be cheap about things that I perceive as not adding value. (A couple thousand dollars, per child, from birth to potty training, to buy things that catch pee & poop and then go in the garbage? No thanks.)
2. Cloth diapers are so stinking cute. Look at that little monkey butt:
3. Disposable diapers have yucky stuff in them that can be toxic to dogs. I have two dogs who have about two brain cells between them. But I love them and would like to keep both of them, and both their brain cells, around.
4. Although I don’t really consider myself an avid environmentalist, disposable diapers take forever to break down in a landfill and I’d like to be a good steward of natural resources, so….cloth.
Before Will was born I spent a somewhat obscene amount of time researching cloth diapers. It can be overwhelming at first- all the different types of cloth diapers, the prepping/washing/stripping routines, the no-nos, etc. But it really is one of those things that is a lot simpler and easier than it appears from the vantage point of too much time on the internet. If you are thinking about cloth diapering and are worried that it’s too complicated, it’s not. I promise.
There are no cloth diaper stores in Atlanta (which I think is bizarre for a metro area of more than 6 million people) but there is one in Athens, GA so before Will was born I went out there to talk with someone who knows what they’re talking about. Allison of The Natural Baby was really sweet and helpful and spent a lot of time with me, discussing options and helping me set up a registry. I ended up choosing some AIOs (all-in-ones) and pocket diapers. (More details about that in a bit.)
When Will was born we did disposables for about two weeks. For one, I don’t know that anyone needs to worry about diaper laundry when they have a three day old. Two, meconium and cloth diapers aren’t BFFs. Yes you can get it out with scrubbing but again, who wants to be scrubbing diapers when you have a newborn? Three, I waited for the circumcision to heal because it required a little gauze pad with Vaseline on it and Vaseline and cloth diapers are not BFFs. (If I’d had a girl I probably would’ve broken out the cloth stash after a week or so.)
So, little Will was two weeks old and I busted out the newborn size cloth diapers a friend lent me. The one size cloth diapers claim they fit all babies but they lie. Maybe if you have a big baby they’d be okay on a newborn but Will was 7 lbs. 0.5 oz and they definitely did not fit him. The leg holes were gaping and you know that story doesn’t have a happy ending. My very generous BFF lent me some BumGenius AIO newborns and some prefolds with Thirsties & Bummis covers. We used them until Will was about 7 or 8 weeks old and at that point he could wear the one size diapers.
Now my daytime stash consists of BumGenius Freetimes All-In-Ones and Blueberry Simplex All-In-Ones. I love all-in-ones because they are quick and people who aren’t familiar with cloth diapers can easily change them. They do take a long time to dry and are the most expensive type of cloth diaper. However, since they’re still way cheaper than disposables I don’t really care.
At night we use pocket diapers, which just means a shell that you stuff with inserts. Pockets are in a pain in my….which is why I don’t use them all the time. However, you can easily add absorbency to them and since Will was peeing through the all-in-ones at night, we needed something with more absorbency. We use the Kawaii Baby Goodnight Heavy Wetter. I also put an additional Best Bottoms Overnight booster in there too because little man can pee and mama doesn’t appreciate wet sheets at 3 am.
For a diaper pail, I just have a couple of Planet Wise liners that I stuck in a trash can (with lid) that we no longer needed. I also have a couple of Planet Wise Wet Bags for when we’re out and about, although I’m finding they’re also great for wet swimsuits!
At home, I use cloth wipes but when we’re out I just use disposable wipes (but stick with the cloth diapers). The reason I don’t use cloth wipes when we’re on the go is that I keep the solution in a small spray bottle and I am just not hard core enough to tote a spray bottle around with me. I’ve got several cloth wipe brands- Blueberry, Charlie Banana, Thirsties, and some other random ones. The Thirsties are my favorite but it doesn’t really matter. Shoot, you could cut up old wash cloths or towels and call it a day. As far as solutions go, there are “recipes” all over the internet. I use about 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of castile soap, a little lavender oil, and a little tea tree oil.
I wash every other day, or sometimes when I’m lazy, every third day. Shh- don’t tell.
Now that Will is 7 months old and has started eating solids, his poop does need to be sprayed off. Up until a month ago, I got to skip this charming step because breast milk poop is water soluble but now we rinse. I have the BumGenius diaper sprayer attached to my toilet. So, after rinsing, the diaper goes in the pail. (Only poopy diapers need to be rinsed.)
The whole pail (liner, diapers, and wipes) gets tossed in the washer and on a cold rinse cycle, no detergent. After the rinse cycle is up, I add 3/4 scoop of Country Save powdered detergent and start a hot wash cycle. After the hot wash is done, one more cold rinse, no detergent. I hang my diapers to dry on the drying rack:
Once, the husband was watching me hang diapers to dry and he said, totally deadpan, “Babe, the only thing that would make you greener and more hip, progressive, and open-minded right now is if you took Bubby’s turds and composted them in the backyard to fertilize your urban homestead.” He cracks me up.
You can put them in the dryer, and I usually do put them in there for 10 minutes at the end just to make sure they’re good and dry. I line dry them because I want them to last, but this is the most time consuming step so if time is an issue this is a good place to simplify and throw them in the dryer.
After they’re dry, I fold them up and put them in these little drawers that are the perfect size for them. I probably take an excessive amount of pleasure in seeing the diapers folded in drawers.
Not as much pleasure as Will takes in filling those diapers just as fast as he can, though!