Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.
It’s been almost two months now, but I didn’t want to post much about it until I knew we were truly there. But we are. We are officially done with diapers around here! Woohoo! It was a loooooong time coming and not without many, many exasperating moments, I will admit. Potty training/learning with one toddler was fairly smooth for us, but hoo boy! This time around, with double the messes (and strong opinions) things were quite different. Good to keep me humble, for sure!
While I am thrilled we are done, one thing I will miss is a nice warm pile (or clothesline!) of clean, soft, colorful cloth diapers. Cloth diapering rocks, and I am so glad we did it! Here are some of the things I learned throughout those FIVE YEARS I was cloth diapering one, two or THREE (!) of my babies.
What type of diaper to buy, and where?
- There are so many new and great types of cloth diapers out there! Different brands or types fit different baby bodies, family lifestyles or budgets, too, so
it’s absolutely worth shopping around (online most likely) and trying one of each of various types to figure out your favorites. Then, stock up!
- My favorites, for what it’s worth, were Fuzzibunz pocket diapers, followed closely by fitted diapers (MotherEaze or Kissaluvs) with wraps. These were both so easy, fast, and reliable — very similar in ease of use to disposables, honestly. There were plenty of others that I really liked, though –check out my cloth diaper review post here!
- The most affordable way to go is generally the flat, cotton prefolds. I highly recommend “Diaper Service Quality” or “DSQ” Chinese prefolds. You also need to get some good quality waterproof wraps (usually with snaps or velcro) to go with these. There are various sizes of prefolds, which I don’t think are generally necessary (I think many folks get by with just the regular size?) though it will be quite bulky at first on most newborns! One of the best things I did when I was pregnant with twins was buy 1-2 dozen of 3 different sizes of prefold diapers (infant, regular and premium sizes). I used them for back-up diapering (when all my others were in the wash) but also for stuffing my pocket diapers, CONSTANTLY for burp cloths or under-baby mess catchers in the infant months, for changing pads on the go, and this past year, for potty messes. They are still definitely in rotation for this as I type, in fact! Once we really truly are beyond this phase I suppose I will use them for cleaning — they are SO soft and strong, even my old cleaning lady inquired about them for this!!! They are also fabulous for drying off wet playground equipment — important if you live in rainy Seattle, for sure!
- New can be nice, but absolutely NOT necessary. A significant portion of our cloth diapers came from Craigslist, Diaperswappers.com, multiples club sales, or Ebay (which is no longer in the used diaper biz, actually). Consignment stores and garage sales can also be a great source. Many of them were in mint condition, others definitely used but still with PLENTY of life left in them. Cloth diaperers these days are often quite particular about their diapers, treat and clean them well, keeping them in really great condition.
- Don’t forget the wipes! LOVE LOVE LOVE our cloth wipes! Many of them were cheap (seconds) and work SO much better than regular wipes. So easy to wet and go, no smelly perfumes or chemicals, nothing to throw away. Will be using these for cleaning well into the future, for sure.
Full time or part time?
- While I commend full-timers and did it at various points, it is totally fine to cloth diaper part time, if you want! For various reasons, I often stuck to disposables when we were out and at night, as that just worked best for us. With twins, I went in planning to start it slow — I didn’t buy more than my initial one-kid stash and built it up as I felt ready to dive in further. Much of this had to do with how much laundry we could handle. Though since I was already cloth diapering my toddler, I soon found there wasn’t many reasons not too!
- I will admit here that I only cloth diapered three for about 3 months. I was fairly motivated to get that “big kid” out of diapers fast because of this! Lucky for me she was fairly willing…
(Delia, Elsie, Emma) Three in dipes — yipes!
- One of the biggest things I have learned over the years is there is no ONE way to launder cloth diapers. There just isn’t! Every family seems to have a different routine, a different favorite detergent, a different way to strip or handle the various issues that crop up. It really depends on your type of diaper, your baby’s skin sensitivity, the hard or softness of your water, your family schedule, and so much more.
- That said, here’s my routine: Dump poops (once they are beyond infancy) and store dirty diapers in dry sack next to the changing table (when infants) or in the bathroom (toddlerdom). Wash every other day or so: Empty diapers in washer (along with sack) and do a cold rinse. Then do a hot regular wash with detergent, with an extra rinse at the end. Dry in dryer or line dry in the summer.
- Detergents, oh, detergents! I liked different ones at different times, and pretty much tried them all. Charlie’s was good for us at times, as was many of the other “diaper-friendly” natural detergents (we had to avoid the ones with essential oils that cause repelling to fleece-lined diapers) or “Free & Clear” versions of regular ones. However, plain old regular Tide seemed to get out and keep away the “stink” that plagued me off and on, so in the end I just went with that! We are lucky to not have sensitive skinned-babies, I know.
- Stripping. It is so very necessary, at least around here where the water is soft and soap-residue builds up. This is a regular maintenance thing (every 3-4 months for me at times) that helps keep diapers feeling soft and fluffy, smelling good and absorbing well. I tried lots of methods but liked the Dawn in the washing machine method (followed by tons and tons and tons of rinses, until no soapy bubbles appear), though I also used boiling and even the dishwasher (seriously!) with good results for stubborn residue issues, especially in my pocket diaper inserts.
End Rant: Cloth Diapering Does Not Smell!
- Dumping. Did I mention dumping? After cloth diapering, I soon found I could not fathom throwing human waste into the garbage can. Waste goes in the sewer, people! I find it humorous and kind of sad that people go to so much trouble (and cost!) to deal with the horrible smell of diapers and diaper pails — to the point of taking poopy diapers out to the outside garbage individually, as they are changed — when all you have to do to eliminate diaper smells from your house is to FLUSH THE SOLID WASTE down the toilet. It takes about 5 extra seconds, maybe, and solves a whole host of problems. It is the right thing to do for the environment, and your nose. Do it! Dump it! Even if it’s in a disposable! Then, your diaper receptacle truly will not smell bad. I promise!
So there you have it. I am so glad I cloth diapered my girls, both to cut down on garbage (we would have had to pay for an extra can with twins!) and because I prefer having soft, natural, chemical and gel-free cloth against my babies skin. I thought that cloth diapering twins would be a challenge, but it really, truly wasn’t. Two babies worth of diapers takes the same amount of time to clean than one, and once you have the routine down the laundering time is really minimal. It’s so great to always have diapers on hand, to never have to run to the store last minute, and to not have that added weekly or monthly expense (after the initial investment). And last but not least — they look great!
What is your experience with cloth diapering? What have you learned since you started? Have you cloth diapered more than one child at a time? How did it work for you?
Visit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:
- Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
- Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
- Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
- Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
- Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
- Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
- Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.