Cloth Diapering: The Beginning

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A few weeks before our peanut arrived, I posted about our intention to cloth diaper, and shared with you our plans and the things we had purchased for our starter stash.

Well, now that Nora is one month old, I know that some of you are likely curious about how this whole cloth diapering business is going for us. The short answer is that it is going great! I'm pretty sure I've already fallen in love with it.

Going back to the beginning... we didn't mess with the cloth diapers for the first two weeks of Nora's life. We had a pretty decent supply of newborn and size 1 disposables thanks to my baby showers, so we figured we might as well use them. Plus, Nora was just so tiny, I didn't think there was any way that the cloth diapers were going to work very well on her. Looking back, I'm sure they would've been fine, but I don't regret doing things the way we did them, either.

But when Nora was two weeks old, I decided to bust out one of the cloth diapers and see what we were working with. And I'll be honest--when I got that first diaper on her (which was a little bit of a challenge in and of itself), I was totally second guessing myself. Not only did it take me longer to change her, but the diaper seemed SO BIG that I thought she looked borderline ridiculous. I knew to expect a "fluffy butt," but I did not expect it to be that extreme. It seemed like her pants barely fit her anymore. Then, later that night, I had her in my lap and the diaper leaked on me.

We certainly weren't off to a great start.

The next day, I don't think I even put a single cloth diaper on her as I was kind of disappointed in the whole thing, and I was actually saying things to Michael like, "Well, worst case scenario, we can sell what we bought and we'll probably get almost all of our money back."

But on Monday, I woke up with a renewed determination about it, and I wanted to be sure to give cloth diapering a fair chance before giving up on it. So, back into a cloth diaper Nora went.

And, well, I had to admit that while still big--it was awfully cute. I also did some more internet reading and found that people said that as you get better at putting them on, the prefold/cover combination becomes a little less bulky. So I looked for instructions to remind myself how to do it, and the next time I put a fresh diaper on her, I made sure to make everything a little tighter (now that I know what I'm doing, in that photo above, the diaper is actually way too loose on her).

We haven't looked back.

In two and a half weeks, we've never had a leak, we've never had a blowout, and things have been going great. I officially love cloth diapering.

When we first worked the cloth diapers into our routine, I was still afraid to take her out of the house in them, so I was using disposables for trips out of the house. But after a few days of that, I became more comfortable with the cloth and started using them all day long.

At this point, we're still using disposables at night, as I don't think the prefolds are absorbent enough for overnight. I don't like to have her go more than 2-3 hours without changing her prefold diaper, and even then, sometimes the prefold is completely soaked (like every inch of it). And because she'll sometimes sleep for longer stretches at night, I'd hate to have her sitting in a diaper that wet for an extended period of time. So until we move into our next stage of cloth diapering (pocket diapers) and can use an extra insert for nighttime, we will stick with disposables for overnight. Thankfully, that only means using two disposables a day, which we can live with for now. Especially since we still have a supply left from the diapers people purchased us for the baby showers.

As for our starter stash, it has served us pretty well. The 24 prefolds are definitely enough for us--I'm doing diaper laundry every third day. Once I was feeling confident that we were sticking with this, we did order one more Thirsties Duo (size 1) diaper cover, as I was often running out of covers before I ran out of prefolds. (Sometimes, baby poop will leak out the side of the prefold, but is thankfully caught by the cover--but this means the cover goes in the diaper pail for washing instead of being reused!) I also ordered an additional wet bag for traveling outside of the house, and an additional pail liner (we only had one of each before now).

Here is what the laundry pile looks like before folding. It's really not a lot of work to do this every couple of days. My biggest complaint is folding the cloth wipes since they tend to stick together due to a little bit of static. We'll see how long the folding lasts before I just throw them all into the bin in a big ball. :)

Here's our diaper drawer. We use the baking soda to sprinkle in the pail every so often to help combat any odors, though I really haven't noticed any thus far.

Oh, and have I mentioned we're using cloth wipes as well? If you're using cloth diapers, it's just easier to use cloth wipes as well, since everything can be thrown into the diaper pail for washing. We purchased several packs of cheap baby wash cloths (the really thin ones, Gerber brand) at Babies R Us. They come in packs of 8 for like $5, and I think we got four packs. I have yet to run out of cloth wipes. We use a spray bottle filled with water to wet the wipes. We haven't found the need to add anything to the water.

For washing, I do a cold rinse, then add the detergent (we're using Charlie's Soap), then run a hot wash with another cold rinse. After it's all done, I hang the covers up to dry. Then all prefolds, wipes, wet bags and the pail liner get thrown into the dryer on low heat. I'll usually remove the wet bags and pail liner about 20 minutes into the drying cycle and hang them to dry the rest of the way.

Here's Nora in just the prefold and a Snappi. We've been using the "angel wing" fold, and it seems to work very well for us.

And here she is with the Thirsties Duo cover, all diapered up. (This is the extra one that I ordered--of course, now that we have a girl, I just had to order it in pink!)

I think that's really it for our routine and our experience so far. It's really been great--and I know that if we can get the hang of and enjoy prefolds, we'll be more than fine when we get to the pocket diaper stage, as things will be even easier.

My biggest concern right now is where we go from here. It's my understanding that most one-size pocket diapers do not fit babies well until they are around 12-13 lbs. And well, Nora is a month old and she's probably hanging out around 8 lbs. right now. Ideally, we'd be able to move directly from the newborn prefolds to the pocket diaper, but I'm not sure if that'll work--I'm worried she'll outgrow the newborn prefolds (the Green Mountain Diapers "orange" prefolds) before she'll actually fit into the pocket diapers. And if that's the case, do we invest in another 24 prefolds in the next size up (the Green Mountain Diapers "yellow" prefolds) so we can continue to use the Thirsties Duo covers, or do we use some more disposables to hold us over until she can fit into the pockets? Ugh, I really hope to not have to do the latter, but I'm not sure if buying the next size prefolds will be the way to go, either. For now, I'm just hoping that she'll continue to fit into the newborn prefolds for a while!

I hope this answers some of the questions you all may have, but if there are others, please feel free to ask in the comments. And if any of you cloth diapering moms have any wisdom to offer, please, I'm all ears!

If you're curious about our stash and how we got started on this cloth diapering thing, please check out my first post on the subject.


Baby Momma Andrea October 12, 2010 at 9:26 PM  

Heather - nice work. CDing is totally worth the little bit of extra effort!

We started my son on BumGenius3.0 one-size pocket and Fuzzibunz OS pocket diapers when he was 1 month, about 8.5lbs as well. We had a few leaks in the FB, but the BG's were pretty reliable. As soon as his legs got a little chub on them, the side leaks ended.

He's now 21 lbs and 13 months old and is in the same diapers he was in when he was 8lbs!

I hope this is helpful to you. Keep up the good work!

Shawna S. October 12, 2010 at 9:51 PM  

My sister makes her own one-size pocket diapers that my new babyh nephew has been wearing since coming home from the hospital. Her 2 older kids also used them from birth until potty trained. Email me if you want some info. I may even be able to alk her into mailing you a sample that you would be able to try before you buy.

Katie October 12, 2010 at 10:12 PM  

Thanks for such a detailed post with pictures. My husband and I plan on CDing and this post was really useful! Thanks a lot!

Noey October 12, 2010 at 10:41 PM  

For my nephew, we use "fleece-textured" inserts that are shaped the same as the diaper covers and have a second layer front to back, in the middle. Now that he's bigger, we put in a thin liner. It makes poop a lot easier to clean, since you can dump it in the toilet and throw the wipe in the wash.

When he sleeps we use pocket diapers or disposibles because, again, now that he's bigger, he re-situates his diaper and regular cloth diapers tend to leak at night for us- and don't seem to hold as much.

Amy October 12, 2010 at 11:44 PM  

My son had a skin condition and we used cloth for awhile. We used Thirsty inserts and Fuzzy Buns covers..much less bulk. Keep it up!

Erin October 13, 2010 at 7:19 AM  

Freddie was not much over 8 pounds when we started him with BG 3.0. He's 19 months and about 21 pounds and we're in the same diapers.

Also, when we transitioned to solids for only breastfeeding I found I needed to use something more substantial than a spritz of water. I just use a foaming soap dispenser with water and a *tiny* bit of soap.

Shauna October 13, 2010 at 9:07 AM  

I was wondering when this post would come since I noticed her in a CD in one of your posts. So glad that it is working for you!

I think the next size of prefolds will be a good investment for you because they can also be used to stuff the pockets after she outgrows them. Of course I am always the one who thinks it makes more sense to buy something reusable--hell even if you just used them for dust cloths afterwards--than waste money on disposables. If you decide that you want to explore CDs for overnight, email me.

Anonymous,  October 13, 2010 at 10:35 AM  

Why did you decide to switch to cloth diapers? Is it healthier to use for the baby?

Jacki October 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

Ok... so this is totally foreign to me, especially since we don't have kids yet.
Is Nora essentially wearing two diapers?
The cloth underneath (with the snappy thing) and then a cover?
And both have to be folded and put on?
That's serious stuff! I admire you for doing it!
Now... the "pocket" diapers... don't those almost work like a maxi-pad? I think that's what someone told me...

Very intersting... thanks for sharing. :)

Heather October 13, 2010 at 4:15 PM  

Thanks for all of the feedback and shared experiences, everyone. Good to know about the one-size diapers--I'm probably going to go ahead and order a few and keep trying them on her until they fit.

Shawna--Thanks for the offer, but I think we're good with the Bum Genius and/or Fuzzibunz diapers.

Anonymous--There are many reasons to choose cloth diapering, but it's obviously a personal decision. For us, we were attracted to the money savings and the reduced impact on the environment. Also, yes, the materials used in cloth diapers are more natural than the chemicals used to make disposables, so I suppose you can say that they are "healthier" for the child, even though I would never say that disposables are UNHEALTHY (clearly, since we are still using disposables on our baby part-time). Anyway, if you want to know more, I do suggest you check out my first post on cloth diapering (I linked to it above, in the last paragraph or two of this post), where I describe how we made our decision, and I link to some resources for more info.

Jacki--It's not two diapers, it's a diaper and a cover. The prefold with the Snappi is the diaper itself, and the pink cover is the equivalent of "rubber pants" that our parents used over cloth diapers back in the day. It's the waterproof layer that keeps the wetness contained. The prefold itself needs to be "folded," but the cover does not--you essentially put it on like a regular diaper. As for the pocket diapers, I guess the maxi pad part would be the insert--but you insert the "pad" into the pocket of the diaper after washing. Then the pocket diaper goes on like a regular disposable, it's great. They're very easy to use. I'll have to do another post once we start using those!

Catherine October 13, 2010 at 8:51 PM  

Thanks for the post! We are one month away from the due date and plan to buy the rest of the stash this weekend. We have been debating between two and three dozen prefolds, but I think we'll buy just two dozen based on your recommendation.

Do you like Charlie's Soap? Where did you find it?

We tried Crunchy Clean and I do like it for washing the baby clothes. They also make a cloth diaper detergent I may check out. Just another option for you!

tab890 October 15, 2010 at 11:25 PM  

Looks like you are doing great with the CD's. I'm still not confident enough to go out with CD's I use them mainly at home - but you are doing so well - I think you may have inspired me to get some more and bring 'em out in public!

You will LOVE the one size pockets - especially once she is rolling around, you'll feel like you are wrestling an alligator when you are trying to get those dipes on! :)

Non-CD related - Nora is such a peanut! I can't get over it! Lulu was born at 10lbs 1 oz, I can't even imagine those little legs - so adorable :)

Angie October 16, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

aww so sweet, makes me feel like having another little one; we have a 14 month old baby boy. God bless and cherish every minute :-)

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