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:

23 ♥ thoughtful comments ♥:

septembermom said...

Shaye, lots of helpful advice here. I do think that it's the responsible way to go. I wish I did when I had the little ones.

sujata said...

In India most of the families continue to use cloth diapers, they are extremely comfy for the baby, but a bit of an extra work for the moms. But no rashes..thats guaranteed!

How have you been/ Taking good care and rest I hope, HUGS!!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Kelly~ We diapered two bottoms in disposables before making the switch to cloth. It's sickening to think we could have several thousand dollars had we started earlier. Ughh!

Sujata~ Oh yeah, it's definitely extra work over dumping it all in the trash. LOL I'm feeling pretty good these days, just very tired still. I'm hoping that 2nd trimester boost of energy will kick in any day now. :)

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

*SAVED several thousand dollars, that is...

The Reluctant Crunchy Mama said...

Cloth diaper mom here! Actually, my diaper days are almost over seeing as how my 31-m-o is only wearing them at night now. Strange feeling! Anyways, just curious, what diapers do you use for nighttime? I ended up getting a combination of prefolds for daytime and pocket diapers for nighttime. Chinese prefolds hold up great. Mine are 21 months old and now my neighbor will use them! My favorite cover is the Thirsties cover. My favorite pocket diaper is the FuzziBun. They hold up better than many other brands out there. I never found all these super cheap options you shared. Will definitely try them out if we have another little one some day.

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

RCM~ Thanks for adding your experienced here! As you can see, mine is pretty limited to cheap and cheaper (by necessity). LOL

I'm glad you asked about night time because I didn't even touch on it. For the longest time, I just double diapered at night. Since we were practicing EC, many times I'd awake in the morning to a completely dry baby (in desperate need of a trip to the potty).

Aside from double diapering, I also picked up one large microfiber towel at the grocery store and I cut it up into strips to fit inside of the diaper. So at night he had that extra soaker just in case he needs something to keep him drier until morning.

Momma Nut said...

I've never used cloth diapers {gasp} but I've heard a lot about them lately and would honestly like to try it out this time around when baby gets here. I must admit it sounds a little intimidating with the different kinds of folds and cloths and covers, etc. Any chance you can just come over and walk me through the process? :)

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

MN~ It WAS intimidating to me at first, too! And I don't even use the diaper folding methods anymore. I just pull it up between baby's legs and fasten it. Usually I'm in such a hurry that it doesn't really matter to me. LOL I just need a pre-fold diaper, a snappy, and a nylon cover and I'm good to go.

Is there a good CD community in your area? If so, it would be great if you could check out the different options in person. Here in my area, I didn't know of anyone else doing CD, so I was on my own. If I could have afforded it, I would have tried at least 4 different types of diapers...All-in-One, pocket, etc. If I could have had two or three of each one, I imagine I could have gotten a feel for what was most convenient. But our first purchase ended up being just fine for us.

Do I get wet sometimes? YES!

Do I dislike washing out poopy diapers? OH yeah!

But do I want to go back to the expensive disposable diapers, again? NO WAY. (though I often do grab a small pack when we're on road trips)

I've seriously not found diapers any cheaper than the ones I listed here. It's comforting to know that even if you don't want to keep doing it after a month or two, you only put in very little money to test it out...probably even less than you would have spent on disposables during that time period.

Lemme know if you want to chat offline. You have my email addy! :)

Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

Thinking about cloth diapers actually EASED my new-mama fears toward the end of my pregnancy. :>) I kind of miss them now that she's potty trained!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

That's awesome, Lenetta! I didn't have any IRL friends who cloth diapered before me (at least not that I knew of), so I was initially apprehensive and had TONS of questions before I got started. Now I only wish I had gotten started sooner! :)

Ali P. said...

I made everyone buy me fancy cloth diapers as shower presents. I only bought a couple myself, because like y'all I couldn't have afforded them. Now that I have 7 months of cloth diapering down, I think I'd be happy with the plain old fashioned dipes, snappis and covers. So when the fancy ones run out I'll just go back for that. I love cloth though, I can't imagine not using. Alicia (Miller) Perez

Gina said...

What you didn't mention is that even children whose parents don't practice EC are potty trained MUCH faster when they are cloth diapered.

With a disposable, the diaper is designed to wick moisture away from the skin. A peed in cloth diaper gets uncomfortable and therefore, cloth babies equate discomfort with peeing in thier diapers. They usuall do not require much coaxing to eliminate in the tolet and stay nice and dry.

We did use cloth but only for the first. 2, 3, and 4 came along in such quick succession, that I went into disposible "survival mode". But, for the very reason mentioned above, we moved directly from diapers to underwear- no pull ups here.

Herb of Grace said...

Thanks for this post! I'm trying to get up the nerve to go cloth with this baby... J is NOT on board, so it makes it tricky, but this simple explanation might just change his mind!

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Ali~ I know what you mean. It looked like it was going to be so complicated before I started and now it's hard to consider going back to disposables. When we travel across the country, I usually pick up a small thing of disposables and I feel a little guilty about how much we're throwing away the whole time. LOL

Gina~ Thanks so much for bringing it up. I'll be sharing some about this phenomenon when I post on EC. But yes, I totally son knew immediately when he went in the diaper and would tell me (even at a very young age) that he was sitting in wet and wanted to be dry. Every new cloth diaper post I write I realize how much I still want to share about the unexpected conveniences. It would take about a good 10 posts to cover it all. LOL And I'm also with you on pull ups. And how are they ANY different from diapers?

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Elisa~ First, let me just say again how very excited I am to know you're pregnant again!!! And we get to be pregnant TOGETHER (or semi-together since we live across the country from each other). Yippee!

So, on to the subject at hand: I really do understand how spouse feelings can affect this decision. Of course, I don't know what J's reasons are, but my youngest brother has a real issue with poop. No really, he gags and throws up if he touches or even smells it (much like I've felt while I'm pregnant). When he and his wife had their first baby he was all about how he was never going to change a diaper. Now that they have three, I think he's slowly begun to change them when he HAS to, but I don't know if he could handle doing cloth diaper poopy diapers after baby is about 9-12 months old. Once you get past those easy yellow non-smelly breast milk poops (which lasted almost a year for me - woohoo), there IS an extra step from just tossing it in a cloth diaper bin to wash (or in the trash if it's disposable). I dumped any solid poop in the toilet and then rinse the rest in the bathtub faucet while I rinse off baby (most people don't rinse them, though). For someone like my little brother, I can see why disposables are more enticing.

Not that you need MY help deciding, but maybe you could compromise by agreeing to start with just a few cloth diapers and only use them when J isn't around (so that he doesn't feel compelled to switch up his routine). The $60 purchase got us up and running and gave me the confidence to know we could do it permanently. And once we started saving that $60 per month (give or take) disposable diaper cost, it felt really good to know that we were providing the healthiest AND most cost-effective diaper options for baby. And as Gina pointed out, moving them out of diapers and into underwear so quickly is the added bonus.

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

By the way, I found an amazing cloth diaper sewing tutorial about a year ago. There are many out there, but this one was very impressive. It showed how to turn a traditional pre-fold diaper into one of those fancy just-like-disposable fitted diapers. It showed, step-by-step, how to do the measuring, cutting, hemming, the sewing of the elastic, the insertion of the velcro or snaps, etc. I'll have to do some hunting, but if I were to ever want to try the more expensive just-like-disposable diapers, I'd grab a few of my pre-folds and sew in the elastic, the inner pocket, and the snaps/velcro to test out the difference in usage before I'd consider paying someone else $15 per diaper. I understand they ARE more convenient than traditional prefolds, but I honestly wouldn't know from experience.

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

I still have nice memories of hanging your diapers out on the line ... ♥

FranticMommy said...

Wow good topic and even better comments! Interesting stuff.
Funny story. My blog just turned TWO! Whoot! I read somewhere that two is really like TWENTY in Blog Years. Anyway, I went back..way back to those early days when my blog was a baby. I read the stories...and WOW, I was pretty green back then. Then I read the comments and there YOU were! Cool! So THANKS for supporting me "back then" and stop back by for a peek of me two years later. Thanks!

_Willow said...

I found this post from the "cloth diapers- hardly a pain in the you know what" comments.

I'd written an entry of my own expirence ( and I was wondering through the web, reading other articles about related stuff.

I have to say, I love so many things about your blog- I love the pictures of your kids down the side and their ages, I love (and agree) with a lot of what you stand for on your blurb- the only thing I don't, in fact, is the vaccination- I agree with delaying, but not totally skipping- but it depends on the vaccination. So I guess I somewhat agree.
Curious, while on the topic of vaccination, have you heard of the huge problem with the flu vaccination here in Australia, where one little girl died, and many, many more were seriously ill?

Gosh, I'm coming across as a bit of an eager fan girl stalker, aren't I? I promise you, I'm not. (a stalker, that is.)

Anyways, on cloth nappies (sorry, I can't help but call them that!) half of my terry flat stash came from my mother- who'd used them on me. So definitely value for money right there! has this philosophy, that if you have just ONE green nappy, you're using one less disposable nappy in landfill, and after two years of diapering, the savings will add up. I apply the same idea when I ec Willow- one less nappy to wash...

The hospital I had Willow in used cloth nappies, it was brilliant.

_Willow said...

Oh, and with ec- I heard of it when I was in my teens, and I've always thought it was possible.
A ex boyfriend's mother had toilet trained their bunny, and my pet rats had the basics of toilet training automatically. And I thought, well... if a RABBIT can be house trained.... why not a baby?
My pets would do certain things before going toilet, so a baby would too, perhaps, I thought.

It seemed natural that mother nature wouldn't want baby animals to foul their own nest... and unnatural to be incontinent for three years or longer!

Then when I was 18, I went to China. There, the toddlers don't wear nappies, but these funny crotchless pants, and whenever they needed to go, they just went, and that was ok.

Sarah @ Mum In Bloom said...

I stumbled onto your lovely blog today and am so glad I did :) I loved reading your menopause/pregnant post below and we are alike in so many ways. I'm 36 and flip flop about if we're going to have more or not. Thank you for sharing your life's journey with us. I hope you're ok as I see you haven't posted in a while. Summer can make life very busy :)

Olivia @ Prefold Cloth Diapers said...

I think there needs to be a lot more pressure and information from the government for people to start using cloth diapers again. The number of plastic diapers going to landfill sites is unsustainable and this needs to change.

Amy @ Six Flower Mom said...

I too love the basic prefolds and clippy! I did want to avoid plastic so I decided to use mostly wool covers, a little more expensive (although not if you make your own) and very cute and easy!!!!

Great post!

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