Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cloth diapers

Before Scott was born, I decided I wanted to use cloth diapers for one single and very important reason: cloth diapers (or at least the covers) are incredibly cute*.

After some back and forth, I decided to use a diaper service rather than committing to the process - and it is a process - poop must be rinsed into the toilet, diapers must be pre-washed before they can be regular washed, etc - of cleaning them myself.  So far I've been happy with it.  Every Monday morning we get re-stocked with 70-80 prefold (flat, old-school) diapers, depending on how many we used the week before.  

And the old ones are carted off to be washed.  
Ew yuck.
The diapers we've been delivered have always been perfectly white and smelled clean without being perfume-y.  Since Scott is 100% breastfed right now, we don't have any trouble with diaper odor, but I'm aware that it might become a problem once he starts to eat solid food.

The "diaper" that is washed and returned by the service is only the inner, absorbent part.  These prefold diapers also need a cover (the cute part) to keep everything in place and keep his clothes from getting wet.  We bought several Best Bottom brand covers from the local diaper store which have about 50 snaps that you can use to size the diaper from "teeny tiny" to "should be potty trained by now".

We also have one cover that only goes up to 18 lbs and some rental covers from the diaper service that are just plain white and we use as back up when our other covers are dirty.  We do wash the covers on our own, but they don't have to be washed every time - only when body fluids get on them or they just start to feel kind of icky.

Before having a baby I had basically no diapering experience and we only used disposables for the short time while we were in the hospital, so I didn't have the preconceived idea that disposable diapers were "easy" and cloth diapers were "hard".  So far I haven't found that to be the case.  Maybe it's because I don't have to do any more work with the cloth diapers than I would with the disposables.  The only really important thing to remember is to make sure ALL of the diaper is contained by the cover.  Gaps by the legs = wet pants.

If you're interested, there's actually a ton of variety in cloth diapers and methods of cleaning them and attaching them to your progeny's lower zones.  You can read here for info on different types of diapers and how to wash them and  YouTube is full of videos of teddy bears having their cloth diapers changed.  The cost of the diaper service is about the same as with disposables, and, yes, we carry around some disposables with us for when we are out and about.  

I see us sticking with cloth diapering/the diaper service for the near future with the possibility of re-evaluating the situation once Scott starts eating real food and his poop starts stinking.  The diaper service provided us with a deodorizing trash can and liners and claims that odor will be controlled between the once a week pick ups, but we'll see...  At that point we'll have to decide if 
  1. The smell is not too bad and we can continue with the service as is
  2. The smell is bad and we want to go on with cloth diapers but buy our own and wash them more frequently (I have to keep reminding myself that he won't go through 70 - 80 diapers a week for the rest of his life and they won't ALL be pooped in)  or
  3. The smell is bad and we want to use disposables
Any opinions on diapers you want to share?  Heard any good poop jokes lately?  Ever think about how many times someone else dealt with your poop when you were little?

*While I'm not the most environmental person in the world (not by a long shot- using cloth wipes, now that's environmentally conscious), seeing how many diapers Scott goes through in a week does make me kind of glad that I'm not adding them to a landfill.  


  1. Way to go! We used cloth with both of ours. It's definitely worth it. We washed our own, so if you want any tips or to hear the real scoop on dealing with real poop, let me know. It's actually easier than milk-poo. Just get your hands on some flushable liners and there's no poo to deal with. :thumbsup:

  2. I think that the liners definitely make washing sound do-able. For me, it's not so much the poop that grosses me out, it's the idea of having to get up close and personal with the toilet. Also, how did you work the part about getting the diaper to the toilet into the diaper changing process?

  3. don't knock it till you've tried it..cloth wipes and homemade wipe solution are amazing. I would recommend them even for folks not doing cloth diapering. you only ever need one wipe and you can control the amount of moisture without running the risk chaffing or drying out skin. I find when I'm out and using disposable wipes, I need way more and the disposables are way messier and less effective. We're into it more than one year and no diaper rash (except one case associated with teething). I still don't think the poopy diapers are so bad. The litter box for the cat is way stinkier.

  4. Also, don't worry about the toilet swooshing thing. We've also never needed to swish anything in the toilet. You can just shake the poop out. We tried liners, but found they are unnecessary, and when they just get peed in, then you have to still remove them all wet, and that's way grosser than just shaking the poopy diaper above the toilet.

  5. We just kept a small plastic bin on the floor next to the changing table. the poopy diaper got dropped into it, changing progressed, and afterward, the bin could be carried to the bathroom. Sometimes we only had to drop the liner in the bin, and the diaper into the diaper pail. We also kept an OPEN pail to collect dirties and washed every 2 days. Closing the pail up only contains and intensifies the odor. Leaving it open allows the urine to dry quickly and the stink is minimzied.

    As for cloth wipes, I only switched to cloth wipes later in the game with my second. I actually never completely switched over. If it was particularly nasty, I'd use a disposable to collect the bulk of the matter and then switch to cloth to do the cleanup. Cloth always cleaned up the smears best.

  6. What is your wipe recipe? I think my concern behind not using disposable wipes is that we do go through SO MANY wipes, but if it takes fewer with cloth then that could work... Good to know about not having to swish. Like I said in an earlier comment, I can deal with poop, it's the toilet (even though it gets cleaned frequently) that really grosses me out.

  7. I rarely use more than one wipe. If its super messy, I'll clean with a thicker one and then do a final wipe for good measure with a thinner clean one. You can make one side really damp and dry with the other side. Our recipe is 1.5 cups water, 1 tablespoon baby wash, 1 tablespoon massage oil (we use almond oil, cold presssed, which we also used for daily massages in the early days), 12 drops lavender oil, 8 drops tea tree oil. The oils seem expensive at first, but we've just opened our second bottle of tea tree after a full year. You can adjust the recipe for your needs.

    By the way, congrats on the decision to stay home a bit more in the months ahead. I know its not an easy decision but I'm sure you won't regret it!

  8. Thanks for the info. So you keep the liquid in a container on the changing table and dip the cloth wipe in before you use it?