Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cloth Diapers #3

Several of my blogging buddies have been posting on their cloth diaper experiences, lately. Maybe it has something to do with Earth Day, but it kinda feels like National Cloth Diaper Month. So with baby #4 on the way, I'm just going to invite myself to the party and re-cap some of our experiences with cloth diapers.

You no longer have to try very hard to convince anyone to go to cloth. Cloth diapers are the "in" thing for all of the health and environmental benefits. Mainstream parents are doing it without a second thought and did you know that hospitals are slowly migrating back to cloth diapers?! Eager businesses have also jumped on the cloth bandwagon so that you can now find virtually anything and everything from your basic DSQ pre-fold to some serious designer diapers that practically promise to change the baby by themselves. With this in mind, I should say up front that if you're looking for information about pretty designs or a just-like-disposable-diapers experience, you can stop reading this post right now. I'm not one of those moms. My experience is extremely unglamorous, simpler than simple, and yet fantastically inexpensive. In retrospect, I suppose my cloth diapering experience ended up being nearly identical to my mother's and her mother's before her.

In the beginning, I spent a lot of time looking at the pricey $10-$20 per diaper options, thinking the benefits might eventually justify the costs. I read all the reviews, narrowed down on my choices several times, but just as I tallied up the total I couldn't bring myself to finalize such a costly purchase. I was so torn on making the "right" decision during those weeks. Everyone wrote such lovely reviews on these gorgeous diapers, but we simply didn't have the money to purchase more than maybe 5 to 10 of the really nice cloth diapers. Then one day my perspective totally changed when a friend interjected, "Remember, Shaye, you're basically looking for a pee catcher. That's all it really is." I totally laughed out LOUD! And I stopped worrying and just started looking at some basic diapers. I was ecstatic to discover a company that regularly offers brand new high-quality DSQ "seconds" for roughly $1.00 per diaper -- we were sold!

My first diaper purchase was two dozen unbleached premium 4X8X4 Indian pre-folds. I added to my order eight colorful Snappis (these have effectively replaced diaper pins) and 6-8 nylon diaper cover pants. Including all the shipping and handling charges (gotta hate those!) my total came to just under $60. As a matter of fact, though I purchased another two dozen pre-folds one year later (to make 4 dozen total), I'm still happily using that original purchase after about two years of continued usage.

I learned a lot of do's and don'ts the HARD way which meant destroying a number of diapers along the way. For example:
(1) Don't set your wash on the fastest setting or else you'll literally beat the threads out of your diapers in just a few months.
(2) Pre-folds are not meant to be soaked. I can't tell you how many times I soaked my diapers for a few hours or even overnight only to learn, later, that it lowers the quality of the fabric over time.
(3) 99% of the diaper creams or ointments on the market are NOT meant to be used with cloth diapers. Unless it says it is specifically made for cloth diaper users, don't risk using something that will destroy and eat your fabric over time.
(4) Never EVER use bleach in a wash of diaper COVERS. It destroys the elasticity in the cover. Ugh!
After learning a number of these lessons, I am pretty happy with our routine today. A couple times a week I wash our dirty diapers in a cold water wash with a cup or two of vinegar and hang them on the clothes line to bleach out any poop stains (summers are great, but in the winter I have to use the dryer). This washing process is SUPER easy when baby is only on breast milk because the sun keeps your diapers brilliantly white and sterilized. But when my punkins start on solid foods around 1 year old, I choose to briefly rinse both the baby and the diaper in the bathtub after each poopy. It's an extra step, but one that I'm perfectly content in doing a couple times a day.

I guess that's the long and short of it. Feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions. If you're living on a very modest income and want to know more about the type of inexpensive diapers and accessories I found, check out some of the links listed below. They're not fancy, but they work just fine. And if you know of any blog posts on CLOTH DIAPERS, please add a link in the Mister Linky widget below the links. This will help provide a broader perspective than I've shared. Oh, and come back NEXT week when I'll share a little of our experience with Elimination Communication (also known as EC).

The factory "seconds" I referred to can be found HERE. If the link doesn't work for you, try going to and click on their "specials." Today the Premium 4X8X4 unbleached diapers are listed at $12.96 per dozen if you purchase 4 dozen. And they offer FREE shipping for orders of $79 or more!! If their deal isn't on right now, try back in a couple weeks. FYI: If you purchase 4 dozen of their "seconds" cloth diapers and 5 packs of snappis (which means you have 10 snappis), your total comes to exactly $80.59. :) I've also purchased from Green Mountain Diapers and was pleased with their prefolds, too (even if they were a little more costly)!

As I mentioned above, also sells Snappis in 2-packs. If you're already doing their pre-fold "seconds" special then you might want to get your snappis there (they're about $2.88 a piece depending on which ones and how many you purchase). This Ebay seller also sells them pretty cheaply and the more you purchase, the cheaper they are (and no shipping costs!). They're $2.22 a piece if you purchase her 9 pack. Amazon also sells a 3-pack for $7.25 which is $2.42 a piece but you also pay shipping unless you purchase enough to qualify for one of their free shipping deals. The Snappi page says to not use them longer than 6 months, but I still have my original snappis from almost two years ago. I think if you're using several then you switch them out enough that they don't get over-stretched too quickly. I like to keep 8-10 of these in case I lose a few. You only need one at a time.

Again, there are TONS of these ranging from cheapo to mega expensive. As you would expect, I've tried the most inexpensive options of around $.75-$2.50 a piece and I just keep about 10 of these because I can re-use just one or two all day if they don't get poopy on them (or get too soaked). I've been very pleased with the Nylon Diaper Pants from Dappi by TL Care (not the vinyl pants!). They are waterproof and rip-proof -- holding up wonderfully through hundreds of machine washes (and unintended dryer runs). Baby Best Buy has them in a 2-pack for $3.99. Amazon has a 2-pack for $5.99. Integrity Diaper Company has a 2-pack for $4.00. Cotton Babies has them in a 2-pack for $5.00. Simply Soft Diapers has the 2-pack for $4.59. WARNING: DO NOT buy the Dappi "Vinyl Pants." EVER. Trust me. Just like the cheapo Gerber pants, you can stick your finger right through the vinyl.

If you do a google search, you'll find there are all sorts of sites that explain diaper oragami, like HERE or HERE. I really wouldn't stress over folding. Eventually you'll find what works best for YOU (and it's likely that no one's going to be checking your work).

Don't forget to add any blog posts you found or wrote on cloth diapering, below:

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