Main page | Types of cloth diapers and covers | My search for the perfect cover | A note on detergents | My repelling fleece saga | Pics of Isaac in cloth dipes | Pics of Julia in cloth dipes | My experiences with diapering a newborn | Nighttime diapering | Diapering on the go | Prefold folds | My recommendations for getting started | Step-by-step diaper change pictorial | Knitting soakers | Trimming prefolds | Homemade pockets | Other eco-friendly choices
My cloth diapering system
I started cloth diapering Julia when she was 7 months old and I’ve become a true addict. I had always been curious about it, but hadn’t really done any research. When I realized I had already used and thrown away over 1000 disposable diapers, I decided it was time to switch. Once you get on the Web and start looking around, the number of choices can become overwhelming. I've come to realize that cloth diapering can be as inexpensive and simple, or as luxurious and wallet-denting as you want. One of my main motivations for cloth diapering is frugality, so I've done my best to find something simple that works and stick with it.
If you're just getting started, and you can't tell an AIO from a FB, check this out. This is my recommendation for a starter set-up. Also, this is another great place to read about folding techniques, types of diapers, and it includes a great link to help you understand the alphabet soup of cloth diapering (as in, "Last night, my silly dh stuffed a FB with a premium ubcpf, when I really would have preferred him to use an HH with an SMJAE hemp insert.")
We’ve pretty much stuck with unbleached Chinese prefolds (ubcpf’s) and All Together Deluxe All-in-Ones (ATD AIO’s) and both have worked well for us. In the past, I simply used Dappi pull-ons as covers, but lately, I've been using velcro wraps with my prefolds. Rather than pinning or snappi’ing the prefolds, I just tri-fold them sideways (or fold into fourths if I'm using premium dipes in a M cover), lay the diaper on the cover, and velcro on. It’s as quick and easy as putting on a disposable, and trim and leak-proof to boot! To make prefolds fit even better, I've recently trimmed them and I love the way they fit.
Here's a step-by-step pictorial of a typical diaper change. And here's another pin-free option from Ulrike, a fellow cloth diaperer who hangs out at the Parentsplace board. This one's been working well for Isaac, as the sideways trifold wasn't giving him enough absorbancy in front.
Sometimes I like to fasten the prefolds, just as a change of pace. Here are some pics and instructions for various prefold folds.
I used to be leery of velcro because of the infamous diaper snake in the wash, and the short wear-and-tear life of it, but I just fasten the covers before washing them, and have no problems with either of these issues. I also hate the foldback tabs on the Bumkins, so I cut them off. I like tri-folding the diapers because it keeps the wetness just in the stride area rather than all up around the hips and waist like when the diapers are fastened. The prefolds will also fit for a longer period of time this way.
Here's my quest for the perfect diaper cover. It's not over yet -- I'm still trying to find the perfect combination of fit, trimness, and comfort.
We do get a little poo on the covers sometimes (especially with those breastfed poos), but I just throw them into the bin and wash them with the diapers. For a breastfed baby, this can add up to a lot of covers, so I recommend Proraps seconds as an economical cover that you can stock up on. They're just $4.50 each (call 1-800-397-8594 to check for availability. They usually have more available at the beginning of each month). Here are my experiences with diapering a newborn.
I have a confession to make. I don't change my kids' diapers every time they wet. I tend to do it by the clock -- every three hours or when I smell a BM, whichever comes first. Also, right before and right after nap and bedtime. A lot of cd'ers think leaving a child in a wet diaper is a terrible sin, but as long as they aren't getting rashy, I just do it my way. I'm mentioning this because I think potential converts might be turned off by descriptions of people changing their cd'ed babies every hour on the hour. You don't have to do that. Even with my slack changing schedule, we don't get leaks.
I do a dry pail, meaning I don't soak the diapers or anything like that. I just use garbage cans from Target with one-touch open tops, and line them with Bummis tote bags. Isaac's diapers get tossed straight into the bins, whether they're wet or poopy -- no rinsing or dunking is needed for breastfed baby poop. Julia's wet diapers are tossed straight in also, and for the poopy ones, I use a little toilet paper to "peel" the poo into the toilet, and whatever falls off gets flushed. Everything else gets thrown straight in the bin. I don't rinse or dunk, period. If covers get poopy or have gone a few rotations getting wet, they get put in the bin with the diapers. I've also recently discovered this trick to keep the odors of nasty all-night dipes to a minimum: I take a clean prefold, wet it in the sink, then lay it over the dirty dipes in the bin, tucking it in on all sides. Then I sprinkle some scented baking soda on top (just regular baking soda with a few drops of essential oil -- see "Clean House, Clean Planet" for other great recipes for homemade cleaners).
With two kids in dipes, I wash every other day. This keeps the pails from getting too ripe and gives room in the washer for proper agitation. When I just had Julia, I was washing every three or four days. On wash day, I take the liners out of the bins and dump them straight into the washer (the liner too). I do a soak/prewash in cold with no detergent, then a hot wash and two cold rinses with 1/2 capful of detergent (see my note on detergents). As I move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, I take out all the covers, the Fuzzibunz, and the pail liners, so they can air- dry -- they last much longer this way rather than being run through the dryer (actually, I've been really lazy lately and throw everything into the dryer. Everything's working fine so far). Then I throw the diapers in the dryer for an hour and I'm all done. Simple and easy. I used to use vinegar in the rinse cycle, but have since found it unnecessary. Some of the stains hang around, but that doesn’t bother me in the least. I find that dumping a bag full of diapers into the washer is easier and less disgusting than getting down on the floor and emptying a "diaper sausage" out of the Diaper Genie.
I just want to emphasize that washing the diapers takes hardly any time or effort (and I usually hate doing laundry, so trust me on this one). The most time consuming part is sorting the diapers after they're dry, and it's still a lot easier than regular laundry because there isn't much folding involved. Just stack the same size prefolds together and fold the wipes (in fact, I just do this so they fit in the wipes warmer and store more compactly. To save time, you could just throw them in a basket without even folding them). I'd say the combined time of throwing the dipes in the washer, transferring them to the dryer, and then sorting and folding them, is less than ten minutes.
I have two changing stations set up. One is primarily for Isaac and is in the first floor laundry room. I have a contour changing pad on the dryer, and I stack the prefolds and covers on the shelf above it. The flannel wipes go in a wipes warmer with plain tap water.
The upstairs station is set up in the guest bathroom and is mostly for Julia. The proximity to the toilet is convenient to dump BM's. The diapers and covers are stacked on the shelves. For toddler messes, I find that cheapo washcloths work best. I keep a basket of them by the sink, and just wet them as needed.
Here's what I use for cloth diapering when we're out and about.
Join me in my latest obsession, knitting soakers.
Here's our current stash (for two in diapers):
These are my favorite cloth diapering web hangouts. They are great places to post questions, reviews and just discuss every nuance of cloth diapering that comes to mind:
Here are a few places to buy, sell, and trade diapers:
Here are my favorite places to shop for diapers:
You can find a ton of WAHM sites here:
Here are some other cloth diapering websites I've enjoyed reading. They'll give you another perspective on cloth diapering:
And here are a few places to read reviews on different diapers and covers:
This is a wonderful site which lists lots of wahm's and the products they make: Diaper Search. It was put together by Kimberlylibby at MDC. Thanks Kimberly!
I use disposables when we travel out of town, and my favorite brand is the Target generic brand (I think it's called Loving Touch). They're cheap, unscented, have velcro-like tabs, never leak, and never leave weird gel beads on my babies' bottoms. Using cloth diapers doesn't have be an all-or-nothing deal. Even if you only used one cloth diaper a day, you'd be throwing over a 1000 fewer disposable diapers into the landfills (assuming a three-year diapering period).
Whenever people ask me why I cloth diaper, I like to say it's for the same reason I don't use paper plates, styrofoam cups, and plastic utensils at home. While it may be easier to throw the dirties away rather than washing and reusing them, they are expensive and wasteful. Besides, it's just nicer to use the real thing.
I'll probably add more to this page when I feel like it, so stop by anytime. And I love to talk cloth diapers, so if you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me. Happy diapering
Main page | Types of cloth diapers and covers | My search for the perfect cover | A note on detergents | My repelling fleece saga | Pics of Isaac in cloth dipes | Pics of Julia in cloth dipes | My experiences with diapering a newborn | Nighttime diapering | Diapering on the go | Prefold folds | My recommendations for getting started | Step-by-step diaper change pictorial | Knitting soakers | Trimming prefolds | Homemade pockets | Other earth-friendly choices
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This site was created on March 9, 2003.
Last updated June 13, 2006