Monday, February 27, 2012

Adventures in Diapering

I mentioned in Hunter's 3 month post that we started cloth diapering him, and I got a lot of e-mails asking about our experience.  Forgive me for being lazy, but I am going to combine and condense the questions on to one post.  Prepare yourself for adorable pictures of my son's tuckus, starting with Exhibit A:

 Why are you using cloth diapers?  Are you some kind of hippie or something?
   Uhh, no.  I mean, I love me some Mother Earth and whatnot, but the long and the short of it is I am cheap.  Disposable diapers are farkin' expensive, man!  Granted, there are great programs out there such as  Amazon Mom that can help you save money on diapers, but it can still add up.  I figured out that if  I continue to use the cloth diapers we currently have, we will break even in 6 months (when he is 8 months old).  If we continue to use them till he is potty trained, we will have saved ourselves nearly $2000 in diaper costs.  Multiply that by how ever many kids we plan on having, and you've got yourself a nice little savings.   You can use this neat-o calculator to figure out the savings if you were thinking about making the switch.

What brands are you using?  How many?
  I know a lot of people create a 'stash' of different brands before the baby is born to figure out what works best of them.   I went all in and got Flips, which is an All-In-2 (AI2).  This basically means there are two parts to the diaper: the diaper cover and the microfiber insert.

When his diaper needs to be changed, the insert is switched out for a clean one and the cover is reused.   We currently have 8 covers and 30 inserts, and I do diaper laundry about every two-three days.

Another popular system is an All-In-One (AIO), and they are basically the same as a disposable;  when the diaper needs to be changed, you remove the whole kit and caboodle, and put a fresh diaper on.   As much as I did like the idea of the AIO,  I eventually went with the AI2 system for cost reason; the AIOs tend to be a little more expensive.  We do have one AIO and it takes for. ev. er. to dry.  I call it his "super hero diaper":

His super power is his ability to hypnotize you with his cuteness.  And flesh eating drool.

How is the sizing?  Blowouts? Are they bulky?
  As far as sizing goes, I think they fit great.  The diapers are one-sized, which means they grow with the baby through a series of snaps and you can change the rise of the diaper by unsnapping it and adjusting as needed.  The insert is folded over to accommodate each size.

I also chose the snap closure (as apposed to the velcro) for two reasons:  I have read that the velcro wears out over time, and as the kids get older, the Velcro can make it easier for the child to remove their diaper where as the snaps are more difficult.  I am not all about having a naked baby running around the halls of Falconhead, if I can help it.

I, personally, have not had any blowouts.  With the disposables (::coughLuvscough:::) every time he pooped, I knew I had to do a complete wardrobe change.   

They do add bulk, especially since Hunter currently wears his diapers on the smallest setting, and the insert is folded over.  We have had to bump him up to the next size of clothing just to accommodate the diapers, and he rocks the old-man-pants.

What is your storage/ dirty diaper system?
   I try to keep every thing as close together as possible.  The diapers are in the upper left hand drawer, just below the caddy that holds the wipes and other baby accessories.

Beside the dressers there are two trash cans:  one for wipes (and the occasional disposable diaper) and a larger can (with lid) for the cloth diapers.   As of right now, Huntface has not started on solids so his poop is water soluble-- meaning I don't have to rinse it before I wash the insert.  Once he starts on solids, I'll rinse the inserts out in the toilet with a diaper sprayer.

The can for the diapers has a small liner so all I have to do is lift it out and dump the covers and inserts into the wash.  I sprinkle a little baking soda on the bottom of the can to help with the smell.

How do you wash them?  
  One of the biggest questions I get is if I go through a laundry service for the diapers.  The answer is no, I launder the diapers myself.  Both the inserts and the covers are washed on a warm cycle and the inserts are put in the dryer while the covers air dry.  I use a perfume and dye-free detergent and I don't use fabric softeners or dryer sheets of any kind.

 I have read you can do a cold rinse cycle first to minimize staining, but I haven't seen a need for that.  If the inserts have any stains when I pull them out of the dryer, I hang them in the backyard to bleach in the sun.  Even though we have only been using them for a couple month, pretty much all of the inserts look brand new.

Does it cost a ton extra in water and electricity to wash them?
  I'm not going to lie to you, our electric bill and water bill have gone up since we had the baby-- but to be fair, we are doing extra laundry for his clothes and bibs as well.  The diaper laundry equals out to about one extra load a week.  Even if you wanted to contribute the extra cost to ONLY the cloth diapers, it's probably about an extra $100 a year.  We also do not have Energy Star washer or dryer, so I am sure they would help with the costs as well.

 Do you cloth diaper him full time?  Even at daycare?
   We were lucky enough to find a private daycare with a woman who was willing to cloth diaper him.  We make sure she always has two covers as back-ups and every day I pack a bag with 5-6 inserts and a wet bag (the blue bag shown below) for her to drop the used inserts into.  When we pick him up in the afternoon, the wet bag is emptied into the can in the bedroom and  rinsed out with soap and water.

Does Hunter like them?
   Um.. he's like 5 months old.  As long as he can grab his toes, he is a happy camper.

How does JEGs feel about cloth diapering?
  JEGs does not love the cloth diapering.  He appriciates the cost effectiveness, but there are a few things that he can't get past.  First off is the handling of the dirty diaper.  It grosses him out that he has to touch the insert and rinse off poo (this is coming from a guy who handles old motor oil and other random car sludge).   I have found the best way to handle it is grab the back of the insert and dump it, or hold the whole diaper over the can and just shake the insert out.

The smell also bothers JEGs.  A lot of disposables are scented like baby powder, and you aren't going to get that with cloth diapers.  The inserts will absorb the smell of the urine pretty quickly, but the covers won't so they tend to smell a little funky.  However, he says that these are not reasons enough for him to stop using cloth diapers.

We do still use disposables whenever we travel because it's just easier to throw the diaper out then lug around a wet bag.  Plus, disposables are more compact then the inserts and we don't run the risk of running out of covers if he has a poop explosion (or two).

To be clear:  I have no issues with anyone who goes 100% disposables at all; this is a judgement-free zone.     Parenting is super personal, and I am just sharing my experiences.

To conclude this post, I think we need another shot of Super Baby.

seriously Mom, how do you expect me to save the world with all this picture taking?
Always & Forever,


Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Great post - thanks for sharing all sides - and especially JEGs. Ryan and I are leaning towards all-in-ones because Ryan is grossed out by the inserts. No one else has mentioned this, but I'm glad you did because I was beginning to think I didn't understand the process.

Also - I'm happy to hear your daycare provider is okay with the cloth variety. Still need to find someone here, but I'm happy that there are people open to it out there.

(And thanks for the spreadsheet with all the choices. That was super helpful!)

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Shannon said...

Nice post. I'm gonna share it with my friend who's trying to convince herself to CD. And seriously, I LOVE THAT BABY! He's so so freaking cute. I wanna see him stat. I'll msg you on Fb to set up a early bird dinner date?