Cloth diapering 101

Michelle is a homeschooling mom to 6 with a grandbaby on the way; co sleeping, baby wearing, homebirthing, cloth diapering all while blogging at http://www.blessed-quiver.blogspot.com

I LOVE cloth diapers. This post is likely to get long because I have a lot to say about cloth diapers.

These diapers are not your mother’s diapers. These diapers are more like disposables. They are easy to use and easy to clean.

First let’s have a little tutorial for those cloth diaper newbies who may be reading. Please remember that this is just my opinion and everyone will have different results.

There are 4 basic kinds of cloth diapers: prefolds, AIO’s, fitteds with covers, pockets.

Prefolds-These are your mothers diapers. They are just the soft cotton square/rectangular diapers that you lay baby on and fold up. Now they make Snappis to fasten them with so you don’t have to use pins. These come in basically one or two colors; white and off-white. But you can tie dye them or color them.

Advantages: CHEAP, you choose absorbency

Disadvantages: time consuming to put on, several steps, bulky

AIO’s-These are almost exactly like disposables. They either snap or velcro. One step and you are done. These Berry Plush are especially soft, comfortable and cute. Every print and fabric imaginable can be found. These are best for short periods of time or when you feel lazy.

Advantages: quick, simple, slim

Disadvantages: can’t choose absorbency

Fitteds with covers: The bottom diaper is either snaps or velcro and it goes under a cover. (These must have a cover or they will get the clothing wet.) They come in various fabrics and designs, as will the covers. Usually the covers are plain though. As you can see in the picture, they aren’t all plain. These are Kissaluvs (my fave) and a Gen Y cover, which I thought was just so pretty, but that I’ve never actually used.

Advantages: ease of use, can choose absorbency

Disadvantages: two steps, can be bulky


Pockets: These are great for overnight and car rides. Every imaginable print or fabric. These are Blueberries which is a wonderful brand and one of my faves.

Advantages: last all night because you customize absorbency, they usually grow with baby a little better than other kinds

Disadvantages: STUFFING them gets tedious, hands can be too big

With cloth diapers there are “name brands” and then there are “generic brands”. Name brands are Bum Genius, Fuzzi Bunz, Kissaluvs and other brands like that, which are made by bigger companies and get national advertising. Generic brands are the work at home diapers like Loving, Caring, Anointed, and Kuddly Kreations. Basically moms who work from home to make a little extra money.

I suggest trying out a little of all and finding what you like. Every diaper will fit babies differently. And what you like for one baby may not work for another.

April 29, 2010. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Guest post, Q & A. 3 comments.

Diaper Wear and Tear

Here is what we see being big culprits of wear and tear on diapers:
1. Bleach= now, once in a blue moon bleach won’t hurt anything. If you have cotton outers, they will fade, but PUL is dye fast and can hold up to a bleaching or two over time. Microfiber you could likely soak in bleach for 6 years and it would still be fine. In some health issues, bleach is needed. Yeast, staph, MRSA, and other bacterial or fungal issues will need bleach to keep your baby from being reinfected. If you are bleaching in every wash cycle, or presoaking them, or for some customers even on a weekly basis, you will wear those diapers out faster. They are cloth, and just like if you were doing this to your favorite tee shirts, you will see wear on them.

2. Stretching out elastic while it is hot=When you take your pockets or pocket AIOs out of the dryer, let them cool before stuffing them. I know you are right there and if you put them down it will be two snacks, one potty break and one naptime later before you get back to them, but this really goes a long way. Hot elastic does not like to be stretched, it will wear out faster so let them cool first.
3. Infrequent washing= Many of you are going to say “well, duh, washing wears them out, too!”. Yes, there is a line you have to walk between yuor schedules, your quantity of diapers, and how your wash cycle works in your house. That being said, letting diapers sit 3-5 days can cause a myraid of problems. One, they are soaking in ammonia for some time, which will wear down your fabrics. Second, it will be harder to get them clean after letting them stew in a warm, dark pail for that long of a time, and you usually have to resort to laundry aids, or bleach, to get them clean. Washing every other day is best, save the money you would be spending on twice as many diapers to wash every 4 days, and start building your stash for the next size up. It will be easier on you, and easier on the diapers.
4. Vinegar, oxiclean, other laundry aids=These can be hit or miss, but Vinegar will wear on PUL, oxiclean can delaminate diapers, and essential oils can cause buildup. Your wash routine shouldn’t need any of these except in rare cases of very hard or very soft water, or a tricky front loader.

Now, anytime I list things like this I will get emails saying ” I do all of those and my diapers are in pristine condition!”, and of course there will always be exceptions to the majority. If the above steps are working for you, then don’t sweat it, do what works best for your routines 🙂

April 28, 2010. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Posted by Stephanie. 2 comments.

say no to stinky diapers, please! :)

IF YOU HAVE STINK WHEN YOU TAKE THE DIAPERS OUT OF THE DRYER, THEY ARE NOT CLEAN, AND YOU NEED TO EMAIL ME TO FIX THIS!!!

Don’t, don’t, don’t put up with stink in an effort to use a natural detergent. Stink=old poop and old pee. If you took your underwear out of the dryer and it smelled like a frat house urinal, would you wear it? You don’t want them being re-wet, put back in a pail to stew for 24-48 hours, semi-washed again and then put back against your baby’s genitals. Please, email me at AbbysLane@aol.com…. Sometimes you have to disinfect the diapers. I know the green mamas and dads out there will recoil at the thought of Clorox, but you just don’t want to play games with this, stink isn’t good, and you don’t have to deal with it. I promise we can find a solution that is easy and will work, just email me!
The common theme=too little detergent. There are very few of you who can wash with a tablespoon of detergent. This includes the factors of a front loader, very VERY soft water, and a unique mineral balance that doesn’t like to hang onto diaper gunk. Most of you need close to if not right on (or-gasp-more) of the recommended amount on the detergent scoop. First thing you try with stink, if you are really skimping on detergent, add more of it. If that doesn’t work, then email me, but it can be an easy fix for lots of you. Many of you are terrified of “buildup”. I promise, 8 times out of 10, stink is not buildup, it is not enough detergent. Buildup is easy to fix, it isn’t the end of the world, short of putting diapers in the paper shredder you can’t really “not fix” any washing issues. So really, email me with your washing problems, don’t put up with stink!

April 27, 2010. Diaper Chatter, Wash routines. 2 comments.

More on toilet training (tips & tricks)!

Now, consider yourself warned, most of this is going to come from my experience training three kids, working in day care for a number of years,  and chatting it up with customers frequently. I am not a psychologist, and I know everyone has their ideas of appropriate ages and behaviors with training, so what I want to share is for you to take or leave at your liking~
This is going to take a few weeks to go through, but I want to dedicate time to the little guys on their way out of diapers. Whether they are 12 months, 18 months, 2, 3, 4 or 5, they are all on their way out of the diapers we love to put them in. I get lots of emails about “when?!?!?!?” When do you know it is time? This is going to concentrate on children who are not challenged by physical or emotional hindrances, those children need extra time and attention, and while I can help, you may need advice outside of my realm of experience.

I always knew my babies were ready to start when I noticed dryness in the diapers over periods of time. Whether they woke up from naptime dry, or I went to change them around the hour mark and the diaper was not wet at all. Usually this starts at around a year to 18 months. Boys take longer in general, they have much more neurological work that has to occur for them to make the connections for training. You truly can start “training” before this. When they are old enough to walk and start following you everywhere, take them in the bathroom with you when you have to go. By this point it certainly isn’t the oddest thing you have done as a parent (you mean I get to shower all by myself? What a treat! LOL), and it won’t be the last. Make it a cheerful, happy thing. “Oh look, mommy/daddy goes pee pee, yeah!” They will see the bathroom as a cheerful place, a place to celebrate what you are doing. It really sets the mood for later. They also see liquid coming out of you as a good thing, and won’t be freaked out when they see it coming out of them in places they never knew existed before. I mean really, if you looked in the mirror and saw water pouring out of your ear, you would be a little weirded out, no? Cool potty seats are fun, potties with their favorite characters are a plus, but they may not even need this. I found it helps though to have these things in the car.
So, they see you going, they are intrigued, they want to do it. You are going to have thousands of “dry runs” before the real deal starts. A good time to actually put them on the potty? Before bathtime! The sounds of water rushing around always made mine want to go. Just a habit to start, just plop them on while getting the bath ready. If it is too much for them, no biggie, they aren’t ready yet. Even if they just sit there for a second and smile, you are training. Training isn’t the results, it is the process, so make it fun and take a deep breath. Another great time, first thing in the morning. Even if that diaper is full and you know they went all night, make it a part of your morning ritual. When they are sitting on the same place they see you go, and see what is supposed to happen, if they are ready they wil start to follow suit. They don’t like sitting, show no interest in being with you when it goes on? Don’t worry, I promise if your baby is not ready, it would be more productive to run into a brick wall then to try and push it. All you will run into is resistance, and making it a chore rather than something new and exciting. Some of you are saying “yeah, but she is 3, shouldn’t she be interested?” I think our generation is much more gentle with training then generations before. I know it isn’t unusual to hear my friends talk of hanging soiled bed sheets out for neighbors to see, or being punished for accidents. Shame was frequently part of the process, and happily I think that is truly a thing of the past. So, don’t worry when your mother or mother in law asks “is she still in diapers?”, I can assure you she won’t be 16 and wearing extra large Fuzzi Bunz, just relax, and go with it. Make it happy, make it cheerful, and celebrate the little steps in the journey.

April 26, 2010. Diaper Chatter, toilet training & learning. 1 comment.

push me over the edge

All right all you cloth diaper advocates….as I indicated in my earlier post, I used to use cloth pretty much full time, and then I kinda fell off the wagon.  I am *trying* to get back onto the wagon….I am also trying to toilet train my two and a half year old.  So I have an almost-11-month old, and a two a half year old in diapers.  I would like to have just one in diapers.  I would like to believe that I can go back to full time cloth.  Help convince me!! Comment below…anyone share this experience?

April 19, 2010. cloth diapers. 3 comments.

what makes cloth fun in the summertime

We had so many great comments on what makes cloth fun in the summertime that I decided to compile them all into one “best of summer” cloth list.  The overwhelming majority of you said — IT’S JUST DARN CUTE!!

We’re almost at the weekend, everyone.  Enjoy!

… …. seeing all those pretty colors and fun prints hanging from the clothesline!

Watching my son pull off his diaper and run bare butt around the yard. I guess he’s outsmarting the velcro on our BGs!

Cuteness aside, it is also a great season to be a cloth advocate.  With all these opportunities to show-off the cloth, you will have lots of chances to talk to other mommies out and about town about why you choose to cloth diaper.

What makes cloth diapering fun in the summer is that my baby looks adorable in nothing but a diaper!

Cloth diapering is great in the summer because I can let my older ones be creative! They get to tye dye or regular dye all my plain prefolds and make them pretty.

Saving even more money by being able to hang my diapers outside to dry! 🙂

You can use one without an insert as a swim diaper!

April 15, 2010. cloth diapers, Fun. Leave a comment.

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Erica is a full time mommy working part time in R&D for a food company.  She and her handsome hubby live in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN with their gorgeous girl, Little L who is quickly on her way to being 15 months old!

What makes cloth fun in the summertime? ….. What doesn’t!  🙂  I think my favorite is when it is warm enough to let my beautiful babe run around in just her dipe!  Too cute for words!  Plus I love my swim dipes!  Again…cute as can be!  🙂

Oh, did I mention they are super great for my babe and allow me to “be green” and save “green” all at the same time!

One more thing…cloth dipes drying on a clothes line in the summer sun always brings a smile to my face!  (Much more than watching them dry in the dark basement!)

Ah yes!  I love my cloth dipes and I LOVE the summer!


April 13, 2010. cloth diapers, Guest post. Leave a comment.

why cloth diapers?

One of our great submissions from our first blog contest.  Reprinted with permission.   Tiffany is a stay at home mama of four from Cumming, GA.  I am a Janeite, science nerd, child-wrangler, former middle school teacher, and compulsive blogger at http://tiffanyselephants.blogspot.com.

I cloth diaper. You’d think with all the laundry I do, I would check my sanity at the door for having signed up for this. I LOVE it!

I have tried several different systems. There are some that are cheap, there are some that are pretty. There are some for Mommies (fun prints) and some for Daddies (quick and easy).

I genuinely like laundry in general, which is good. If you have more than one kid, you know that laundry isn’t like addition, it is exponential. I like it because there is a concrete “done” factor. You start, you finish, clean clothes, magic. It smells nice, it is warm. It feels good and reminds me of being five. Kinda like home-made bread.

But I particularly like diapers. They are like baby socks. Tiny and limited to babies. I feel like I am handling Charlotte’s Babyhood. I was genuinely depressed when Amelia potty trained. Mind you I was thrilled that she got teeny tiny panties, (which I also enjoy folding, little girlhood) and we got a measure of independence…but it is exiting babyhood. It is a beginning, but it is an end. I love my kids at every stage, and look forward to each and every one. But I mourn every one, too. (With the exception of the sleeping-only-two-hours-at-a-time one.)

I started cloth diapers on Amelia when she was a little over 2. A friend tried them and they weren’t too bad…not like when I tried them on Gabriel with cheap dipes from Walmart…suffice it to say, it wasn’t great…BUT there are so many more options! Since starting cloth, I have had NO blow outs. I have also not had near the allergies or the rashes. They are cheap compared to disposibles. They also have the added bonus of the cute fluffy butt!

I love being a mommy. I like my job. I like the every day stuff. I like being there with my kids. I think my conclusion is:

Laundry Soap and Bread Cooking Smell = Security, I guess. Mommy’s there.

April 5, 2010. cloth diapers, Guest post, Q & A. Leave a comment.

Summertime…

It’s been a gorgeous weekend and that has thoughts turning towards….summertime!!

So for our next blog contest, we have a new theme: “What Makes Cloth Fun in the Summertime!”

Get those creative juices flowing everyone!  And e-mail your entries to abbyslane@gmail.com.

April 3, 2010. cloth diapers. Leave a comment.

A breath of (ocean) air

Our winning guest poster was Ana from http://mammagiraffe.blogspot.com/!  Thanks to everyone who participated.  We received so many fabulous entries that we just may have to feature all of them individually!

How do you use cloth diapers when every second of your day is full?  When you have two working parents who race to the metro, race to meetings all day, then race to get home for some quality time at the park before book, bath, bottle, bed?  And how do you have the time to blog about it?  Well, the same way you have the time to eat lunch, go to the bathroom, and (occasionally) even have time to have sex with your husband and/or watch an episode of 30 Rock.  You make time.  Yes, sometimes finding the time is as difficult as finding socks that stay on your baby, but when at the end of the week you go to empty the diaper genie and realize that there are NO diapers in it, its like taking a deep breath of fresh, cool, ocean air.  So, yes, to me fitting cloth diapering into my busy schedule is like taking a vacation to the beach.

What are the pros of cloth diapering, besides that cool, ocean air thing?  Well, there’s feeling good about doing something great for the environment.  Then there’s that whole saving thousands of dollars so that you can afford to take an actual beach vacation thing.  And, I have to admit, it helps assuage my working mom’s guilt.  I hate to think there is anything I can’t do for my baby and family just because I go to work during the week.  And finally, cloth diapers are just cute and fun and interesting.

So, now let’s move onto the cons.  Really, there’s just one, the washing.  How do you fit in the time to wash diapers when you have a toddler to bathe, other laundry to do and two adults that need to shower, all between the hours of 5 pm and 10 pm?  Well, so far my best answer is buy more cloth diapers so that you can wash them less often!

Ana Greene lives with her husband and daughter in Arlington, VA.  She is a mild mannered federal government employee by day and blogger by night.  She is a Supermom 24 hours a day to her 15 month old daughter Alice.

April 1, 2010. cloth diapers, Guest post. 1 comment.