Friday, August 8, 2008

cameron's cloth diaper manifesto

For diapering, I knew I wanted to do cloth, but two concepts were stopping me 1) hassle and 2) poop. I'll address both and soon you'll be using cloth diapers yourself.
**Okay I want to preface this post with these facts: #1) I breastfeed, so I don't really know anything about formula fed baby poop so take that into consideration. Baby poop (until they eat solids) is very watery and similar to cottage cheese, only yellow *sorry.* It does NOT smell gross, in fact, it has a sweet smell, a baby poop smell. :) In any case, at first, it just splatters everywhere and absorbs into whatever will absorb it.
#2) when my baby reaches the solid poop phase, I'll post about how that works out with cloth...because I got this toilet sprayer thing that you can hose off the diapers and solid poop but I have no idea how it works.

If you are a first time mom and haven't used cloth diapers (or changed diapers since the babysitter days) you may be thinking to yourself, eeeewwwwwwww, nasty! How do I handle poopy diapers and wash them every day? Secret: YOU don't, the washing machine does. Really, you just throw those guys in there all dirty and nasty, put it on a soak cycle (or front loaders have a pre-wash) with no detergent and voila-- the are ready for the wash with detergent. After soaking (follow your diapers directions) you add some detergent. I use Charlie's Soap it doesn't leave any residue and cleans everything. Another secret, make diaper duty a habit. When I put the baby down to bed for the night, I just gather all the dirty diapers (stored in a dry pal) and toss them in the machine. After they are washed, I hang them to dry and they are ready by morning (alternatively if you don't live in the desert like me, then toss them in the dryer)

Does that sound horrible, hard and inconvenient? I didn't think so. Really, it's great AND you are not constantly buying diapers and smelling gnarly dirty ones.

I did a trial run with some different cloth diapers for the first 3 months as per a recommendation from Mom's at my baby shower. I had four systems. I'll explain each and tell you pros and cons. I chose one system in the end, Fuzzi Bunz, a pocket diaper.

1) gDiaper: love these, but at first when babies are small, the poop gets all over the liner and the diaper with frequency. I still liked them because it's less trash no matter how you shake it. If you get a whole set of these, I can see how they work awesome. I have four and we could make it at least one day. Problem with gDiapers is that their strength is that they are compostable when no poop is present. Paradoxically, you will find, though, that new babies poop A LOT. As they get older you will be able to compost more so I'd recommend these diapers as a support system for another diaper until baby is pooping solidly. Advantage: if you are camping or have a compost there is virtually no trash-- or if you can flush the pee ones. It's hard to flush new baby poop diapers because they are hard to touch since poop goes everywhere. Also they are a bit more "work" in snapping in the liner, unsnapping dirty liners, etc. If you are dedicated, you will like these, if you are looking for 100% easy solution, maybe it's not gDiapers.

2) Organic Caboose snap-able cotton diapers size newborn with Organic Caboose wool covers. I got these as a gift from my baby registry at Zen Baby in town. I found these diapers to work great if you don't mind your baby being WET and you don't want to use pre-folds. Owen didn't care about being wet, but it bothered me a bit. You have to use a cover with these. The wool Organic Caboose covers that I used worked great to keep the wetness in. Drawbacks include IT TOOK FOREVER for both the diapers and the covers to dry and I mean like ALL DAY in the AZ sun and you have to time your washing just perfectly to get the covers washed and dried with the diapers washed and dried. You only have to wash the wool covers once a week, but you also have to buy special wool wash and lanolin wool cure to keep them absorbing well. As a result of the drying issue, I found myself supplementing often with our disposable diapers. I don't think they will fit your baby long unless you have a skinny butt like Owen or a preemie. Also I couldn't fit baby, diaper and a doubler (liner to absorb more liquid) into these diapers. Maybe I just didn't have the right size, but the organic caboose super soakers didn't fit. I see on their site they have newborn size, which probably would've worked.

3) Nature Care Baby (buy at Target stores or These are so called "biodegradable" disposable diapers created by some mother in Sweden. We also buy their wipes for backup (yes I use cloth wipes too). They work almost as well as the Pampers, which makes me suspicious but they are a bit kinder to the planet (not by much). Owen wears one when he goes to bed or if we are caught out without a cloth diaper. If he sleeps through the night, these will hold it all. I don't feel AS BAD throwing these away because they breakdown eventually but alas, it's still trash and I hate TRASH and landfills don't biodegrade anything as is discussed at LENGTH in this article.

We are down to one Nature Care Baby diaper per day.

4) pre-folds with cover. I tried these and didn't really like folding them all the time. I have about 6 friends who LOVE their pre-folds and use them exclusively but for now they were more hassle on the changing table then I was willing to battle 8-12 times a day. I will say, when I did use them, they worked and they are easy to clean and they dry fast and are easy to pack in a diaper bag.

5) Fuzzi-Bunz (pocket diapers) You put an absorbent soaker (foldable insert) inside the diapers and take it out for washing. I might also like an "all in one" type cloth diaper but I bet they take forever to dry. I ended up choosing to purchase a set of Fuzzi-bunz (I bought two to test run). I got a set of 10 and got the "second quality" because they were $13.99 rather than $19.99. In the future, I'll buy the first quality ones because you get a micro-terry insert in the 1st quality but not the seconds, plus a warranty. I like these diapers A LOT. They are easy to wash, easy to use, they WORK, they fit and they dry super fast. They wouldn't have fit Owen until 3 months because he had a skinny butt and legs but now he's in the tightest snap on the size small so I think these will fit awhile. Their website has tons of info regarding diapers and how to wash them, etc etc. Follow the directions because I'm told if you don't wash these properly they will stink and lose their absorbency. I have heard that bamboozle diapers are also great. I might buy two of them to check them out. I hear they take a long time to dry (huge issue if it take longer than 8 hours or 1 hour in the dryer).

Seventh Generation: work well, at least you are supporting a company who strives to do the right thing but they still have a fair amount of that plastic like absorbant substance (so do gDiapers).

Pampers: I admit on vacation for a week I used Pampers. I hated them. They stink funny with urine and give the baby a rash and you are constantly throwing them away. I couldn't WAIT to get home to my Fuzzi Bunz.


Ashley said...

We use Bamboozle snap diapers with a hemp cover. We love them--that's all we're using right now, sprinkling in some seventh generation and pampers when we don't get laundry done fast enough. The bamboo is very absorbent, and super soft. The extra bonus is that they grow with your baby, so you only have to buy two sets all the way from birth to potty training.

Katrien said...

Hi, love this entry, though we've grown out of diapers I still keep an eye on what develops.
That article... "and landfills don't biodegrade anything as is discussed at LENGTH in this article (which I cannot find the link to now.... it was IN DEPTH discussion about all the stuff that goes into all diapers, even the ones that are supposed to be earth friendly, etc)... could that have been the "Green Diapers Review" on my blog ( Boy, it's been ages since I wrote that...