Confused about Cloth?
I was once too….
Honestly, I don’t think I really understood anything until I actually started using them. So those months leading up to Lochlan’s birth, a lot of time was spent looking for cloth diapers I THOUGHT were going to work well. But in reality I had no idea what I was getting into…
I hope this post helps clear up your questions/concerns and helps you feel more comfortable about using cloth on your baby!
First of all, let’s start by getting educated on WHY CLOTH?
With help from http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php we know the following:
Diapers come in contact with baby’s delicate skin! Traces of any product applied to the skin can be found in the body’s organs within seconds. With that in mind…
1. Do you know what’s in most disposable diapers on the market!?
Dioxin: A extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. Banned in most counties, not the US! Allsopp, Michelle. Achieving Zero Dioxin: An emergency strategy for dioxin elimination. September 1994. Greenpeace. http://archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/reports/azd/azd.html
Ways to avoid this in disposables is to look for Chlorine-free diapers
Tributyl-tin (TBT): A toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals. Greenpeace. New Tests Confirm TBT Poison in Procter & Gamble’s Pampers: Greenpeace Demands World-Wide Ban of Organotins in All Products. 15 May 2000. http://archive. greenpeace.org/pressreleases/toxics/2000may152.html
Sodium Polyacrylate: This is a super absorbent polymer (SAP) which becomes the gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance was used in tampons in the 1980s and was known to increase the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Armstrong, Liz and Adrienne Scott Whitewash: Exposing the Health and Environmental Dangers of Women’s Sanitary Products and Disposable Diapers, What You Can Do About It. 1993. HarperCollins.
In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.C-J Partsch, M Aukamp, W G Sippell Scrotal temperature is increased in disposable plastic lined nappies. Division of Paediatric Endocrinology, Department of Paediatrics, Christian-Albrechts- University of Kiel, Schwanenweg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany. Arch Dis Child 2000;83:364-368. http://adc.bmjjournals.com , search by the title of the study.
Dyes and Fragrances: Hundreds of chemicals can hide under these terms. It’s a scary world we live in.
2. Going Green? Hugging Trees?
you might want to on this information alone…
It is estimated that 24.7 billion disposable diapers are bought and used every year. 92% of them end up in land fills. Makes you wonder where the other 8% end up…
Ever read the package those disposables come in? It says right on it, stools should be discarded in the toilet/septic/sewage system. Do you know anyone that has ever done that? I sure don’t…those diapers are sitting in landfills.
Millions of dollars are spent annually just to discard these diapers. Whereas Cloth Diapers are reusable sometimes up to 3 children (birth to potty training), with the proper care. Plus you can share and resell cloth that still has life to give to other babies.
No one will ever be able to determine how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, because it is estimated to be anywhere from 250-500 years….seriously our world is drowning in garbage!
In 1991, an attempt towards recycling disposable diapers was made in the city of Seattle, involving 800 families, 30 day care centers, a hospital and a Seattle-based recycler for a period of one year. The conclusion made by Procter & Gamble was that recycling disposable diapers was not an economically feasible task on any scale.Stone, Janis and Sternweis, Laura. Consumer Choice — Diaper Dilemma. Iowa Sate University – University Extension.
ID.# 1401. 1994. http://www.rockwellcollins.com/daycare/ pdf/pm1401.pdf
Over 300 pounds of wood (Tree Huggers are you there?), 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks (don’t get me started on Petroleum…I’ll let you do that research) and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.Lehrburger, C., J. Mullen and C.V. Jones. 1991. Diapers: Environmental Impacts and Lifecycle Analysis. Philadelphia, PA: Report to The National Association of Diaper Services (NADS).
3. Now one of my BIG reasons for choosing Cloth, COST! Being a majority-of-the-time stay-at-home-mom, I always need ways to save money (or at least not spend it!)
It is estimated that for the first 2 years babies will use about 6,000 diapers. Diapers, whether generic or name brand, are a decent chunk of the monthly budget-about $60-$80 a month. If you are like me, grab your calculator! That equals about $1,800-$2,000 a year. Which may not phase some people but…
The majority of my Cloth Diapers were $15-$27 each and I know own about 21 of them. Some were gifted from our baby showers and others I got on clearance, and yes I love buying and trying new diapers all the time just for fun. I have plenty of them, but I collect anyway. So if you purchased only what you needed: Newborns are changed 10-15 times a day and it decreases as they are able to hold it longer, to more like 8-10. You would need about 16-18 to be comfortable washing every other day. Drum roll please……
You would be looking at about $400-$600 total…now keep in mind, those diapers can be used for multiple children! Whereas with disposables you are spending that $2,000/year again and again every time you add another sweet baby to your family.
So now that the top reasons for using Cloth are explained….Do YOU have any to add?
Many of you may have anxiety that prevents you from committing to Cloth!
Some reasons I’ve heard:
Cloth is not as convenient. I can honestly say I haven’t been inconvenienced at all using them. I think they are just as easy, if not easier than disposables when on the go. Wet/Soiled diapers are placed in a wet bag and placed back in the diaper bag and space is shifted by using another diaper. No need to search for a garbage can…I’m not kidding, I’ve used bathrooms with no changing tables in big name retail stores (nothing more gross than changing my son on a public bathroom floor). I even place used wipes in the diapers and wet bag too…I wash wipes all the time, no harm done. I just pick them out once they are clean and thrown them away.
I hate doing laundry! Yeah…me too. But unfortunately laundry is a part of life and it NEVER ends. I usually start a diaper load first thing in the morning and it has just become my first load of the day, with many to follow most days. I wash every other day and will explain my routine later in this post. If you still can’t commit to cloth because of this reason, there are still diaper services in most areas and they will do the washing for you! Cost is still much less expensive than disposable and don’t forget friendly to our Earth.
Some may argue other costs/environmental factors; such as the water bill and using more water in general. We are fortunate to not have to pay for our water, we are well. But if you are on City water, it may be the determining factor. As far as water used….pick your battles.
Alright, Let’s go through some different kinds of cloth diapers…THESE ARE NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S CLOTH DIAPERS! Thank Heavens!
Modern day Cloth makes diapering a breeze…
Now I don’t own every single type and brand of diaper out on the market…there are hundreds now. But I will show you the different styles I have and just know that there are more options out there.
First up: NEWBORN ALL-IN-ONE
All-in-one simply means you have everything you need already attached to the diaper. Put the diaper on and go…nothing to add, nothing to remove when washing, etc. These are newborn sizes…now as you probably already know, my son was not typical newborn size (9lbs 8oz) and therefore these diapers last a very short time. Hindsight: I would not have purchased these size diapers and instead skipped straight to a multi-size diaper that goes from 7-35lbs.
Shown here are three different brands, showcasing the differences in material and style. Also snaps vs velcro closure (hook and loop). I personally prefer the snaps because of wear/tear and ease of washing, the velcro tends to get caught on things and starts to look used very quickly. Some people prefer the velcro because you can get a more snug fit with it. A reason newborn diapers are nice, is because of the “snap down” feature to fit below the belly button as the cord is falling off. My son’s cord stayed on for 2 weeks after birth (longer than most-seems to be his trend), so this was helpful.
Next Up: Multiple Size all-in-one (basically 7lbs new to 35lbs almost potty trained)
As you can see these are very similar, everything you need is already attached! Makes washing very easy, but some take longer to dry because you can’t separate them.
Moving right along: Pocket Diapers
These are my go-to diaps! Why? Because you can add layers to them easily and when you have a boy that could win a peeing championship, you need to add.
There are many liners out there; most pocket diapers come with an infant microfiber liner or insert and a regular microfiber (thicker and longer). When you choose diapers that grow with your baby, then your liners/inserts will change as they grow as well. i.e the infant insert is much less bulky and you get a smaller fit for the newborn size.
There are also hemp and bamboo liners/inserts out there as well. LOVE these for night time, because they soak up pee and hold on to it, whereas other materials can get “rung-out” with movement. They are however harder to dry because of this moisture-locking mechanism.
Pocket pictures GO!
Now the diaper one the left is considered “one size only” to grow with baby. The middle one is a small size, only lasting from 7-18lbs and the right one expands to fit the 7-35lb baby.
As you can see here I have placed both of the liners/inserts included with these diapers because my boy needs that much on his bottom. He was never a newborn liner only man.
This is with all the liners placed and ready for action.
This is a view of them closed but not snapped.
And this is a view of 3 sizes demonstrating how this particular brand grows with your baby.
Pockets are wonderful in my opinion, but their downfall is BULK, time stuffing after laundry and they do take up more space in the wet bag on the go. But again, fabulous for night time.
Lochlan’s night time diaper to prevent leaks is a Pocket stuffed with a hemp (furthest away from skin), then a thick microfiber on top of that. Then outside, on top and touching the skin I place a organic charcoal bamboo liner. Which we will talk about next. We had many soaked jammie nights before Mommy figured this combination out and it has worked like a charm…no more diaper changes over night!
Now if you have been cloth diaper shopping you will know there are many more out there than what I am showing you today. Would I like to own at least 1 of everything? Sure…but my cloth diapering budget is pretty exhausted at this point and that’s ok because we have all we need. Diapers that I’m not talking about and don’t currently own are, Prefolds and Fitteds. Prefolds are basically the old fashioned cloth diapers, requiring a special folding technique and a way to secure them on–they make that part easier now with Snappi’s, no more pins! Prefolds tend to be even less of a investment over all and some parents swear by them; personally I got into cloth because modern day options were so far from these diapers, plus the colors and prints are so cute on baby butts! Fitted diapers are basically all one material like hemp, bamboo or cotton. Some have snaps and others require pins or snappis and all fitteds require covers such as the ol’ “rubber pants” or a wool pant over them. I have heard great things about these for night time…especially the wool, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to try something like this.
The last type of cloth diaper that I own and use, I call simply liners and covers or some companies call them “lite” diapers or wraps and inserts. These diapers and less bulky, they travel well and are nice because you can essentially remove the liner, replace it and use the cover again…unless of course there is a poopy mess all over the cover. This is great for travel since you are just placing a liner or insert in the wet bag and traveling with less diapers in your bag overall.
Left: Microfiber and charcoal bamboo insert fits right under the cover tabs. Middle: the duo layer charcoal bamboo inserts snap together and then also snap to the cover making a great, non-moving insert. The right: a duo microfiber and hemp liner simply placed in the cover.
Here you can clearly see the covers and inserts separate.
Here they are all together and ready for use.
Now the majority of cloth diapers you will find on the market are going to be made of a waterproof Polyester material and/or Polyurethane laminate material, aka PUL. Inserts, liners, stuffin’s, etc are mainly microfiber, hemp, bamboo, organic charcoal bamboo like the Lil’ Helper diapers that I will be reviewing soon, or cotton (both organic and non-organic).
Here is a picture of the different liner/inserts I currently own:
From left to right, 2 of each: Organic charcoal bamboo, hemp, and microfiber.
I mentioned it a little bit before, but the Charcoal Bamboo is fabulously absorbent, holds on to wetness well and drys quickly. I have also read reviews saying they are amazing at preventing and helping to treat diaper rash and therefore I am glad to add them to my night time mega diaper, knowing Lochlan is going to be sitting in it for hours. The hemp is also great for holding on to wetness and not letting it go…literally you can not even ring it out. But this factor does make them more time consuming to dry. Lay out prior to tossing in the dryer to save on the dryer time. Microfiber is great all around absorbency, easy to add multiple layers and drying time is decently fast. They do however hang on to the ammonia smell the most out of the insert/liner types.
Alright, we talked about fit throughout this post a little…you want to make sure you are getting your diapers on your baby snuggly and without any inserts/liners/stuffing hanging out the top, back or leg areas. This can cause leaks as well as having your diapers too loose. Here is Lochlan in one of his diapers:
Yes, he is long! My big dude is 5 months here, pushing 18lbs or so and likely close to 29in. He is long and lean! So you can see that he is on the medium size setting for front to back size but is still requiring a tighter fit around his itty-bitty waist and the teeny butt he has inherited from his Daddy (*WINK*).
Another popular brand out there for these types of diapers are gDiapers. I personally have not tried them, but I have heard good things and they offer a disposable option as well as cloth insert options.
Disposable options are nice when you are traveling and can’t do laundry and when you have a diaper rash situation (it’s going to happen no matter how you diaper). Many creams are not compatible with cloth materials and can leave build up on your diapers rendering them nonabsorbent. Two options that work well for rash when you are using cloth are Coconut Oil and Breastmilk…I normally use both of these at the first sign of redness and irritation. I use disposable diapers if I need to break out the diaper rash creams.
Last but probably the most important part besides your babe lookin’ super cute in Cloth!
Washing and Drying!
My wash routine is as follows:
*COLD rinse on highest water setting, throw everything in (diapers, wet bags, pail liner)…DON’T touch a thing, just toss them in on a rinse only cycle, Poop and all!! *Breastmilk poo is water soluble and therefore will break down and wash away with ease. I am not familiar with formula poos on this subject. Once solids are started, it is recommended to swish diapers in the toilet or use a diaper sprayer to clean poo off prior to placing in the pail or washer.
*Once they have been rinsed on COLD, they will be less gross and more able to be touched. I normally sort through and remove any liners/inserts that haven’t already been separated from the covers in the rinse cycle. Again, All-in-One diapers are nice in this aspect because you don’t have to do this.
*HOT 9 minute wash with Rockin’ Green Soap Hard Rock because we have hard water, HOT rinse and HOT 2nd rinse. I used to change the temp back to cold after one hot wash, but I have found that I have less ammonia stink by doing multiple HOT water cycles.
*COLD rinse to finish them off and ensure all the detergent is rinsed out. You can choose to add a Anti-stink agent to this rinse if you want. I use one called Allen’s Stink Out.
Once washing is finished I sort through my diapers and inserts/liners. I toss the unstained ones in the drier and the poopy stained ones go in the sun (even on cloudy days…just try to bring them in before it rains). Some inserts/liners may take a lot of drying, such as the hemp…tumble dry on Hot or Cotton Towel setting until they no longer feel damp.
*Rockin Green Soap and Allen’s did not give me anything and I have not been in contact with either company whatsoever so that I would talk about them. I simply love these products, have used them from the beginning of my cloth days and I just wanted to share what works for me.
*I also have not had any contact with gdiapers, but think highly enough of them to share!
Here is my cool before sun/after sun exposure pictures…Call me easily amused but I never get sick of how cool this is to me!
After….it’s like Magic!
I think that about wraps it up…long post, I know I wrote it!
Questions?? Please comment with anything you feel should be talked about or added.
Lord, I pray this post helps parents who were contemplating cloth diapering on their littles. I pray this clears up some of the confusion of starting cloth and that more parents will choose this Earth-Friendly option. Amen.
Time to stuff diapers for tomorrow!