Friday, April 15, 2011

Cloth Diapers 101

I am a cloth diaper-er.  I did not used to be.  Both N & O were exclusively in disposables- and I don't have anything against Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, or whatever brand you may choose.  With baby #3, however, I decided to do cloth.  Why you may ask?
My Reasons:
1.  Price.  Yes, cloth diapers are an investment to begin with, but the amount you save in the long run is very worth it.  I went with an economical brand, but invested a little over $200 in what supply I have.  My mom actually got us most of our diapers as her gift to us. (She is very pro cloth- my sister & I both wore cloth) But, I shouldn't have to invest much more.  Essentially, that $200 will diaper miss H until she is potty trained.  All in all, I will save around $1700 by choosing to go cloth.  Green for green. I like that!
2.  Now that I stay home with the littles, why not??
3. I have several friends who use/have used cloth, so I knew if I had questions about brands, care, sizing, etc. I could easily get answers.  Even if I didn't have friends I could ask, there are a TON of forums to find answers & a lot of videos on youtube as well.  Its not hard to find information if you want it.
4.  Environmental reasons.  No need to explain that one.
5.  Even though I have to wash them, it takes little to no time- I wouldn't consider 1 extra load of laundry a week extra work.  Yep, that's all I do- 1 load a week.  And no my house does not smell of stale, stanky diapers.

The type of diapers I decided to use are the Flip All in Ones (or AIOs).  I chose this system based on reviews, and price.  This system differs from a lot of other systems as it has a liner of sorts and a cover that goes over it.  When you do a diaper change, the liner goes in the pail, and as long as the cover is poo free, you can wipe it out with a wipe & use it again.  The flip system has different liners- I use mainly the stay dry liners.  They kind of resemble a giant maxi pad.  I also have a few organic liners which are folded into thirds & used in the same manner.  The third type of liner I use is a different brand, but it is compatible with the Flips- its Econobum.  I also have 2 Econobum covers & they all basically work the same & are interchangable with all the liners.
 Flip cover on left, Econobum on right  The Flips also come in velcro- I have one, but its in the wash.  :)  They also come in fun colors- I have 4 different colors.
The liners:(L to R) Flip Organic, Flip Stay Dry, Econobum Prefolds

As I mentioned, the Flips are a one size fits all.  There are snaps that make the diaper smaller if they are done up & larger if undone.  They will fit her till she is 35 lbs or potty trained. The Flip Stay Dry's have lines that you fold to to get the various sizes.  Currently, H is in small, so I have all the snaps done & fold it to where the line says small before placing in diaper- the folded part goes in the back for girls, front for boys.  
Flip cover & liner (unsnapped & unfolded to show sizes)

I also made my own wipes so that I wouldn't have to worry about accidentally washing a toss-able wipe, or have to throw away poopy wipes alone (gross).  I found flannel squares on Etsy & sewed 2 together to create nice, thick wipes.  I have 24 flannel wipes.  I only use 1 wipe per change- even on big messes- they are thick & very absorbent.  I keep my wipes in a tupperware container & make my own solution- 1 1/2 cups hot water, 1 tbs baby soap, 2 tbs baby oil, and 2 drops of tea tree oil.  It smells great & is better for her skin than wipes which sometimes contain alcohol & are drying.  
flannel wipe & container for storage
I keep my diapers in a standard trash can with a lid(bad picture, sorry!).  I bought a liner off of Etsy that fits inside & is waterproof.  I keep it on top of the dryer & never have had issues with smell.  I do keep an air freshener in the laundry closet just in case- but the pail honestly doesn't smell unless you open it.  I wash once a week.  The washing process is simple.  I first do a pre wash in cold water only.  Then I do a regular wash in hot water with very little detergent. I use All Free & Clear & fill up the lid halfway to the 1 load mark.  Then I do an extra rinse at the end.  To dry, I put the liners in the dryer with no fabric softener.  The covers hang dry.  I always wash the pail liner with the diapers.  Detergents & softeners clog up the fibers of the diapers & make them nonabsorbent.  Once a month, I do a wash with bleach.  

That is the basics.  This post is getting too long, so I will do another one at a later time.  All in all, I love the cloth diapers and wish I would have done them with O as well.  N was in daycare, so it wouldn't have been an option.  I will leave you a picture of H in my favorite cover of all- its actually a Thirsties cover, but again is compatible with all the liners I have.  I can't wait until summer so we can put on some cute dresses & show off our covers!
 H in Thirsties cover with Econobum liner

H in her Flip cover & Stay Dry liner @3 weeks old. 
You can find more types of cloth diapers here.  This is the site I found to be the cheapest(Free shipping- WOO HOO!!!) & most informative.  

**I apologize for the poor quality photos.  My camera battery was dead, so I used my phone- lesson learned. 

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