Okay, if you aren't interested in babies and their dirty diapers, read no further. But if you are-- here is what works for us. Cloth diapering is a lot easier than it's made out to be!
For the first month or so, I used Pampers Swaddlers because I was already so exhausted that I didn't want to think about anything extra. Besides, I was pretty sore from Ellie's birth and the fewer times I had to trek up and down stairs to the washing machine, the better. But once I felt like myself again, and she had grown a bit, I decided to pull out my cloth stash. Now Ellie wears them all the time, with the exception of outings where I know I'll want to change her diaper. I don't yet have a wet bag to bring along so I am still using Pampers for outside of the house. :)
We just use prefolds and covers. I read all sorts of things about cloth diapers before Ellie was born, and a lot of people seemed to conclude that while the fancy new brands can work well, they aren't that much of an improvement over prefolds (and are a lot more finicky and expensive). So I went the old-fashioned route.
I have two dozen Cloth-eez unbleached cotton diapers. Ellie is in size small now, and she's such a shrimp around the waist that she will probably not graduate to medium for a while! I like how they get more puckered and absorbent as you continue to wash them.
The fold that works best, I think, is the jelly roll. With that and a good fitted cover, the mess stays in, if you know what I mean. :) We have never experienced a blowout with cloth-- maybe a little leak, but never the stain-inducing explosion we've gotten with disposables.
Bummis Super Snap covers are extremely well made. I think they will last for a long, long time.
Thirsties Duo Wrap covers have a trimmer fit than Bummis and are a bit more customizable, since they have a row of snaps on the rise as well. I liked that when Ellie was really little. The double gusset is a smart feature, too. They do take a little bit longer to dry; Bummis are practically dry when you take them out of the washer!
We have five covers total, all size small, and that's plenty (you can reuse them as long as they are not dirty). When Ellie outgrows our current covers I will probably get a few of each brand again. I like them for different reasons.
Whatever brand you get, do choose snaps rather than velcro. Snaps don't wear out or get stuck to things in the wash, and babies have a much harder time undoing them. ;)
At night, I add a hemp insert to Ellie's diaper (folded in half and placed at the front). Its extra material helps to absorb the nocturnal soaking she dishes out. It also makes her rear end extremely large. Jared calls this the Big Bertha.
If Ellie has a rash, which occasionally happens if I forget to change her and she gets too wet, I use MadeOn rash cream and disposables for a while till it clears up. Once she pooped after I put her to bed for the night . . . yeah, there was a rash in the AM. Poor baby.
Snappis are a brilliant innovation. No diaper pins to poke your little one (or you).
Though I think prefolds are awesome-- they are cheap, sturdy, and adaptable-- we do have some pocket diapers from Just Simply Baby. They're very cute but I wouldn't stock up on them, just due to the price.
At the moment I'm still using disposable wipes. Once we run out of Pampers, though, I might just do the switch to ALL cloth, including a small wet bag for on the go.
My routine: dirty diapers go into a large Planet Wise wet bag hanging from the end of her changing table. I imagine that as Little Mouse gets older, and her diapers get larger, we might switch to a lined bin. For now, these bags are fine.
As long as you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you don't need to rinse diapers before washing them. It all comes out in the wash, really!
Every two days or so I carry the full bag downstairs and dump diapers, bag, and all into the washer. I rinse them on cold first. Then I wash on hot with Charlie's laundry detergent and Charlie's hard water booster. (Sometimes I also do a half-hour soak with Oxobrite once the hot wash fills up, then continue the cycle with the detergent.) Finally, another cold rinse with half a cup of white vinegar. The vinegar helps to keep the fabric soft, and certainly doesn't hurt with cleaning.
Now that I have a clothesline, everything gets dried outside, and the sun is marvelous for stains! If it's raining, the diapers and wet bag can handle the dryer, but the covers get hung up. I don't want to wear out the elastic with high heat. The diapers usually get stiff on the line, but if you fluff them in the dryer afterwards, that fixes the problem.
I have two wet bags, by the way, so I'm not without one while the other is being washed.
Here is Ellie's changing table:
You can see that a wet bag is hanging on the end of the table. Here is a closer view of the shelves:
|Babies need so much stuff.|
On the top shelf I have wipes, snappis, prefolds, and (in the basket) covers and hemp inserts. On the bottom shelf I have a basket full of extra sheets, changing pad covers and whatnot, and then all of my miscellanous "products": Burts' Bees lotion, Bac-Out, nail clippers, etc. Disposable diapers are in Ellie's closet.
Really, it's very easy. Unless doing laundry is super difficult for you and you just can't stand the thought of adding another load every other day, I would encourage you to give cloth a try!
Green Mountain Diapers has excellent customer service, by the way. One of my covers leaked and they sent me a new one without any hassle.
Some other useful cloth diapering links: tips on the newborn days from Live Renewed, a simple prefold routine at Mama Smiles, prefolds and pockets at The Crunchy Wife (including plenty of helpful pictures!), Bumgenius and newborn reviews at Passionate Homemaking, and lots of FAQs at Keeper of the Home (check out the comments too).
Shared on Simple Lives Thursday.