When you think about cloth diapering you probably think about safety pins, plastic covers, and gross smelly prefolds. That's not necessarily the case anymore. Cloth diapers have changed tremendously over the last several years. In fact researching cloth diapering can be quite overwhelming nowadays. There are several different types of cloth diapers out there. I'm not going to dig into all the different kinds there are (that would take all day!), but I am going to tell you about the two different kinds I have used with Blake. Here is my cloth diapering experience...
When I was pregnant with Blake I worked in a child care center with infants and toddlers. One of the little girls in my class used the Fuzzi Bunz diapers. I was lucky in this case, because I really got to see what cloth diapering would be like (except I didn't have to take the diapers home and wash them). After having some experience with using the Fuzzi Bunz I thought I could do this cloth diapering thing.
Before Blake was born I purchased 14 Fuzzi Bunz diapers, 10 smalls and 4 onesizes. I didn't have intentions of cloth diapering right away since Blake was my first baby and I knew life would be busy trying to adjust to having a newborn, and newborns poop and pee so much that I would have constantly been doing laundry. We used disposables for about the first 6 weeks. When I felt like I was ready to give cloth diapers a try, I pulled out the small Fuzzi Bunz and tried it on him. It seemed really bulky on him and he didn't seem comfortable in it. Blake was on the smaller side when he was born and didn't gain weight very quickly like some babies do. Since I was eager to give cloth diapering a try I headed down to the local cloth diaper store and purchased a dozen prefolds and 4 covers and 2 snappies. I figured these would fit him better and was the most affordable way to go since I knew I wanted to use the Fuzzi Bunz once he grew into them.
(Blake at 6 weeks in a prefold cloth diaper)How a Prefold works: There is a cloth piece which is called the prefold, then you have the snappies to hold the cloth part together and then the cover (the cover can be reused a few times before it needs to be washed). Since prefolds are made from cotton and don't hold a ton, they need to be changed pretty frequently. We only used prefolds during the day and disposables at night for about a month and a half. They worked great for the time that we used them but I definitely prefer Fuzzi Bunz over prefolds.
We started using the Fuzzi Bunz when Blake was about 3 months old and have been using them since! I started with the smalls and as he has gotten bigger we have been using the onesize.
(Blake at 8 months in a size small Fuzzi Bunz)
How a Fuzzi Bunz works: Fuzzi Bunz are considered a pocket diaper. There are two pieces to the Fuzzi Bunz. The outer waterproof layer is lined with a fleece inner layer that creates a pocket where the absorbent microfiber insert goes. Here are some pictures...
(outer layer, and microfiber insert)
(the pocket where the insert goes)
I have found the Fuzzi Bunz to be really easy to use. They have seemed to stay pretty nice, the one pictured, is one that we have been using since the beginning. Now that you kind of have a little bit of an idea of the kinds of cloth diapers out there I'll talk more about our routine and how we do cloth diapering on a daily basis.
Storing: I have a garbage pail with a lid that I keep in the bathroom. It is lined with a mesh bag. For poopy diapers I simply shake the poop off the diaper into the toilet and then toss the diaper in the pail. For wet diapers I just toss them in the pail. You can buy a diaper sprayer that hooks up to your toilet so you can spray them off, I have never purchased one but I know a number of people who have and it can be helpful at times. When we are away from home I put the dirty diapers in a wet bag (or just a plastic grocery sack if I forgot my wet bag). Surprisingly, I very rarely smell the diapers both when they are in the pail or wet bag.
How many: I started with 14 diapers which would get me through 2 days, so I would wash every other night and occasionally have to use a disposable while washing. Right now we have 24 diapers since Blake can still fit in a size small (shocking, I know considering he is one!). Once he out grows the smalls we will be back down to just to 14 onesizes. I feel like 14 is a doable amount but having 24 has been great because we always have cloth clean (with washing every other night).
Washing when/how: You probably are thinking... "Washing diapers every other night?! That sounds like doing laundry all the time!" It actually hasn't been that bad. I find that it works best for me to toss them in the washer once Blake is in bed. I first run them through a cold rinse cycle and then a hot wash cycle with a tiny bit of ALL Free and Clear detergent and then occasionally I'll do another rinse and then pop them in the dryer so they are dry by morning. There are all sorts of special detergent you can buy for cloth diapers. I have found that ALL Free and Clear works good for me (it is best to use a detergent free of dyes and perfumes). The one thing with Fuzzi Bunz, (and I think goes for most cloth diapers) is that you should NOT use fabric softener. The chemicals in fabric softener do something to the waterproofness of the outer layer. There are lots of resources online you can find about washing your diapers and it seems like there are many ways to wash them and every washer can be different, so do what works best for you! Oh, and a great and easy way to remove stains is to simply lay them in the sun for a few hours!
Cost: Cloth diapering can be pretty expensive to get into. We looked at it as an investment. We know we want more then one child and our plan is to use the diapers on baby #2 as well. The savings really come in when you can use them on multiple kids. We haven't noticed much of an increase in our water or power bills from washing. And we are creating less garbage so that is nice and better for our environment!
I never thought I would be a cloth diapering mama, it's really not as bad/hard as it may seem. But you have to do what works best for you :)
Kira, thank you for allowing me to be a guest blogger! I hope this information was helpful! I am so excited for you and Jeremy and can't wait to meet your little girl! You are going to be a great mama!!
Thanks, Sara! I have seen the Fuzzi Bunz diapers and was pretty impressed with the quality. This info is really helpful so I know how many we will need if we do end up going that way.