Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Using cloth diapers is NOT as difficult as you might think
... or at least when you have a working washing machine!
It is entirely possible to use cloth diapers and just wash them at a laundromat - it's just more convenient when you have laundering capabilities within your home. I say this because last Friday night we put on a load of JC's dirty diapers - a very FULL load, I might add! - and our washing machine died on us. KAPUT! (Why do we do laundry on Friday nights? Because of time-of-use [TOU] hydro billing, plus we were going away for the weekend and needed some clean nappies.) Thankfully, we got through the double rinse cycle before it broke ie. just missed out on the WASH cycle. My hubbie spent the next 30 minutes ringing the very absorbent diapers out in the laundry sink and tossed them into one of our "dirty" diaper bags. We let them sit overnight in the basement, and the next morning he drove them to a local laundromat to get them clean. We brought them home to dry them (knock on wood there's nothing wrong with our dryer ... yet).
A lot of people I know that are having babies have been asking me about what we do for cloth diapering. There are many excellent resources on the internet, but here is our diaper run-down:
WARNING: THIS IS VERY DETAILED, SO IF YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE DETAILS OF CLOTH DIAPERING, YOU MAY WANT TO SKIP TO ANOTHER POST.
We bought our cloth diapers from Re-Diaper in Hamilton. They're a great resource if you have questions about cloth diapers.
We use Bummis pre-fold inserts. They're bulky and give JC a big booty, but they work really well. Super easy to clean and easy to change. They come in packs of 6. We had 4 packs, equalling 24 diapers and that worked out nicely. When JC was about 3 months we moved up in size and they should work till she's done with diapers.
Sometimes we also use Kissaluv fitted diapers as inserts. They're less bulky and are great for containing big poos. We use them when we're expecting a big poo or when we really REALLY don't want a blowout (ie. at a fancy event or something). I find them less absorbent and less breathable, but as I said, much less bulky and good for containing messes. Again, upgraded from size 0 to size 1 at around 3 months or so. We have 6 of them.
To cover our diapers we use Thirsties Duo Wraps. Bummis & Kissaluv both offer their own diaper covers, but we REALLY like the Duo Wraps and they work well with both the Bummis and Kissaluv inserts. We prefer the snaps over the velcro closures. Had to upgrade size when we upgraded the insert sizes. We have 8 of them.
For swimming, we use the AppleCheeks swim diaper. It's great - makes much more sense than disposable swim diapers. If you decide to use disposables instead of cloth diapers, at least use a reusable swim diaper. Then you don't have to worry about having garbage - it's just another swimsuit! We have 1 of them.
When JC was first born, we had to do diaper laundry every other day. Now we tend to have 2 days off between loads of diapers.
We use baby washcloths as wipes and could just as easily use cut up squares of old t-shirts. We just use a damp cloth to wipe her bum - no wipes. (They sting when they have rashes and they're kind of messy we think.) Besides, it makes bum changes garbage-free!
We've used 2 types of bum creams that are safe for cloth diapering: Purple Urchin's Baby Butt Balm and Dimplecheeks Baby Bum Bum Balm. We prefer the Purple Urchin one. Initially we only used butt balm when she had redness, but now that we're into teething we use it at EVERY diaper change to prevent rashes (they sneak up on you when they're teething!).
We use a bag to store dirty diapers till laundry time. We have three GroVia bags so that we can just toss it in with the diapers when we do the laundry. You can buy step-cans to put them in (like a garbage step can), but we just let it sit on the floor beside her change table. When we're out and about we use a PlanetWise bag because it has a compartment for wet stuff (dirties) and one for dry stuff (clean diapers). We just have one of these.
We do our diaper laundry using Claudia's Choices laundry detergent because it doesn't wreck the absorbency of the diapers. Rockin Green is a really good brand, too, especially if you have hard water. We've also used a trial pack of Tiny Bubbles and it worked out fine.
We use dryer balls without dryer sheets in the dryer. Oh! And no fabric softener. You can get wool ones that I've heard great things about, but we haven't tried them yet.
When we do laundry, we do 2 cold rinses with lots of water. Then we do a hot wash with the amount of water that is appropriate for the load size. We do an extra rinse with this load, too. Then we either hang the diapers out to dry, or we put them in the dryer on HIGH heat. We hang the Duo Wraps to dry. **Breast milk poo stains come out in the sunshine when you hang them out to dry, so that's nice :) In the above photo, you'll notice stains on the diapers on the right - those stains all came out after a day of sunning them!
Now that JC is starting on solids, we've installed a BumGenius diaper sprayer on our toilet for rinsing solids. This should probably be done if you're using formula, too. Breast milk poos can just go in the washing machine as is. We keep one of our GroVia bags beside the toilet to chuck the soggy diapers in once they've been rinsed.
Well, that's the down and dirty on our cloth diapering! If you have questions, ask away!