Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why I love cloth diapering...

I wanted to cloth diaper IM, but someone convinced me it was terrible. When he was 9 months old and experiencing horrible diaper rash (Thanks, Pampers.), I looked into cloth and found the choices too overwhelming and the start-up cost too high. Wish I could do that over! A was born when IM was 18 months, so I had 2 in diapers for 2 years. A went on to wear diapers until his 4th birthday because we were focusing on his behavioral issues rather than potty training. M was born when A was 3 3/4, so I had 2 in diapers again for a while. However, I wanted to try cloth with M to cut down on waste, cost, and likely diapering time.

I bought $350 worth of prefolds and Bummis and Thirsties covers. Functional, cute colors, very affordable. They seemed to be the choice of my more thrifty and pragmatic friends. At 1 year, however, we had constant ammonia issues, M could remove the velcro covers, and the diapers were hard to put on over clothing and still allow freedom of movement.

I spent $300 on some FuzziBunz One-size, which I would have started with if I had it to do all over again. If I had started with those with the boys, we're talking $3000-$4000 that I could've saved!

I've had my bad days with stinky issues with the FuzziBunz, but I LOVE these diapers. They fit babies from 7 to 35 lbs. I love that they snap because I've had problems with velcro wearing out on the earlier covers.

Here's a few common questions and my answers-

-What do you do about poo? I flush it down the toilet, which is technically the only legal way to dispose of human waste. I do occasionally dunk diapers, but I don't have to often since I use a polyester fleece diaper that lets it roll off. First, I remove the microfiber pads that are inside. Sometimes, I use a liner that keeps the poo from getting onto the diaper. That can be flushed as well. They're pretty cheap, but I don't always remember to use them. Rinsed dirty diapers or wet diapers go into a pail in the basement until wash time.

-How do you wash them? I have hard water, so I'm careful of mineral and detergent build-up. I do a cold wash without additives. Then I start a hot wash with 4T of Charlie's Soap. I stop it when the machine is full of hot water and let it soak overnight. Then I resume the cycle in the morning with an extra rinse. After that I run them through the dryer on low or put them on the washer line. I like Rockin' Green Soap, too. This routine has been going great for about 2 months now, and since my M is 21 months, I think the routine is fine through potty training. Actually, both FuzziBunz and Rockin'Green will help customers troubleshoot their washing problems, and I fine-tuned mine with advice from FuzziBunz.

-What about night time?
I have to confess that cloth just DOESN'T work for us at night. M is a heavy wetter and pees through 3 heavy microfiber cloths. Maybe a FLIP diaper would work, maybe hemp, but I'm not interested in buying more. So we use disposables at night because we worry about ammonia and leaks.

-What about wipes?
Baby washcloths stored dry in a wipes container work great for us. I keep all the diaper stuff in the bathroom, which I think will help with potty training: this is where we deal with potty things. If I need wipes, I grab one, wet it, use it, and put it in the pail with the diaper when I'm done. No sorting out piles of things to wash and things to toss that way. I do like California Baby's spray to spritz on during a change, but I make sure to wipe well so that the oils don't get on the diaper.

I can't say that this is what everyone should do or that doing it my way would work for everyone, but it works great for us! I love seeing M's little cloth-covered bum and hate the sight/smell of disposables. If nothing else, I'm preventing a lot of landfill waste and using biodegradable detergent on all our laundry, so it has to be a point for the green side.

Most of the research that suggests that cloth is equal to disposables or is worse than disposables in terms of cost or environmental impact is funded by disposable diaper companies. Typically such research assumes that cloth diapering parents use a diaper service, which involves delivery pollution, harsh chemicals, and high energy costs. Not me, I do it all at home for the cost of a load of laundry. 'Scuse me, gotta start the wash!

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