I need to update you on cloth diapering an 11 month old as opposed to a newborn! Can't believe I haven't written this yet.
So after we did our trial with three different pocket diapers we decided that Fuzzibunz did not work well for us because they just didn't fit Truman properly, and the Kissaluvs were just so-so. We really really liked the BumGenuis 3.0's and so we returned the Fuzzibunz and bought 12 more BG instead. We had to keep the Kissaluvs because I messed up and didn't realize they weren't a part of the 30 day trial, so we now own 3 Kissaluvs and 18 BG pockets plus the one BG organic all-in-one. We do still have those medium pre-folds but honestly, I've used them maybe three times total when we are completely out of the pockets. Disclaimer: the Kissaluvs, Fuzzibunz, and prefolds are not bad diapers by any means. They just don't work for us although some mamas love them, which goes to show that every baby has a different body shape and each diaper fits differently. My advice is to try a few different brands and decide for yourself what works best.
(in his BumGenius at 11 months old)
(in his BG at one month old!)
While I'm still talking about the styles of diapers that work for us, I will say that the velcro on our 18 BG 3.0's started to fray and pull away from the diaper to the point of ridiculousness around November when Truman was just 8 months old and the diapers were about 7 months old. I considered replacing the velcro with snaps myself but realized that would be a HUGE undertaking, and one day I was reading the Cotton Babies site and had a light bulb moment. The BumGenius diapers are under warranty for the first year, meaning if there are 'manufacturing flaws' and it's not the user's fault, they will replace your diapers for free. Our diapers were definitely less than a year old and I knew we didn't do anything wrong with the care of the dipes to make the velcro detach so I emailed Cotton Babies asking about the exchange process. All I had to do was make sure the diapers were clean, then pack up my receipt (since I didn't buy them from Cotton Babies), and pay for shipping into the store. I sent back 15 of my 18 diapers with bad velcro and used disposables until our new diapers arrived. Sure enough, I got an email from CB saying they would give us new diapers and they even offered and upgrade to the new 4.0's! I also decided to go with snap closures this time, although I did like the ease of the velcro, just because I think it's cleaner with snaps and as Truman ages he won't be able to pull off the diaper as easily as velcro. We picked some new colors for our new 4.0's with snaps and although I'm a huge fan of their brights that have been discontinued, I am okay with the light pastels I had to get this time. When the new diapers arrived I was pumped to get them on baby boy and they've been working quite well for us. Also the 4.0's have a few new features compared to the old 3.0's, like the ability to replace the leg elastic over time and a longer rise therefore fitting bigger babies. I'm so glad I emailed them and got replacements instead of trying to fix the velcro myself. And I must say that we now prefer snap closures instead of velcro----but I know everyone is different with this choice.
One huge change for us in the cloth diapering journey as been the evolution of Truman's poop. Being exclusively breastfed for 5 months, then beginning rice cereal at that time didn't really change anything. We could still plop the whole dirty diaper into the pail and wash out the poop in the washer without any issues. Newborn breastfed poop is the bomb on the scale of poop-awesomeness. Then at 6 months we introduced veggie purees and that changed his poop from being happy, non-smelly, washable poop into angry, stinky, MUST rinse-out-first poops. I mean, ICK! We have the BumGenius diaper sprayer hooked up to our toilet and never used it until about 7 months along when the real food poops were just too horrid to throw into the washer. I will say that the sprayer is not my favorite thing ever. I just can't seem to get the hang of it and end up with crap splatters more often than not. I get really happy when his poo is formed like a little baby log because I can just plop that into the toilet, no prob. But when it's looser it's totally sick but then again, isn't it totally sick in disposables, too? I think when you have to handle gross baby poops in cloth or 'sposies, it's nasty. And so we haven't ditched the cloth because of the weird semi-adult like poops we find in the diapers.
We have found that using flushable diaper liners are our saving grace. We now put a liner inside the diaper with each change and if he poops it will catch most of it for us, so we can just toss it in the toilet and flush it away. Sometimes poo particles escape and so I must use the sprayer or talk myself into dunking it in the toilet old-school style, but for the most part the liners are fab. They look like little dryer sheets and come in a roll and are pretty much amazing.
As far as the washing routine goes, we are definitely in a groove with the care of our diapers and it is truly easier than you think. I know a lot of people are turned off by cloth because of the perceived extra work in laundering them but if I can work and also cloth diaper then you can, too! (end of me trying to convert you readers out there---do what you feel is best for your family, okay?). We wash diapers about every other day, maybe every third day. I have no problem doing them in the evenings after work now because it really doesn't take that long anymore. We do three wash cycles as suggested by many CD sites: first a cold rinse cycle without any detergent to loosen the poo (sometimes a bit of bleach in this cycle occasionally); then a hot/cold wash cycle with three scoops of Rockin Green detergent (love!!); then another cold rinse to wash away any extra residue. Sometimes I even skip this last rinse if I'm feeling rebellious because Rockin Green is a great cloth-diapering soap that shouldn't have any residue anyway. So yes, there are three cycles but because two of them are like half cycles with only a rinse, it's not too bad. This whole wash process might take a total of an hour or so but it's probably about 5 minutes of actual hands-on time including trips down and back to the basement. Easy Peasy.
To dry our diapers we are experimenting with a few ideas. During the sunny months in Wisconsin (basically only June and July, or so it feels) I love to air dry the diapers in the sun all day. It's the perfect way to get rid of stains and freshen up the diapers, although I still dry my inserts in the dryer first. But now that it's frigid cold outside we have to get a little more creative. What we've been doing for many months is we toss the inserts and wipes into the dryer on high for 60 minutes, then put the covers, wet bags, and pail liners out to try on a drying rack next to a vent in our family room. That is totally fine and it works, but it's sort of a pain to separate out what you 'can' dry and what you 'can't'. I am fully aware that BumGenius says you should not dry the covers in the dryer but we have done just that a few times now. And let me tell you, throwing the entire load in the dryer and drying it on high for 60 minutes makes life easier and the covers have not exploded or melted yet. I doubt we will do this every time but every now and then it's nice to have them dry and ready to go in an hour, instead of laying out to dry all night long.
(hello, sunshine. How we miss you)
The wipes debate: I think cloth wipes clean better than disposables and if you are doing cloth diapers it makes sense to wash your wipes, too, instead of finding a separate trash can to toss sposies into. I notice that a major doogie requires only two or three cloth wipes but it might require a whole stack of disposables because they are slimy and slick----just my opinion, I know. We have a few different kinds: flannel ones from BumGenius, Kissaluv terry cloth ones, and Kissaluv Organic ones. I use a regular old wipe warmer, throw all the wipes in there and then dump water over the top of them. Then I fill my 'peri-care' squirt bottle from the hospital with our wipes solution and squirt that directly onto the watered wipe as needed. I used to make solution with just a bit of baby wash and baby oil plus water in the solution and that is still fine, but I feel like with his nasty poos we needed something more cleansing. So I bought these Honey Buns Drops in the blueberry honey scent and love it! Of course, any scent mixed in with rancid baby crap is not the most appealing but by itself the drops smell great! I just toss the wipes into the pail although sometimes they do need to be rinsed out first, which is not my favorite part but whatev.
Night-time cloth diapering is one of the hot topics out there because it can certainly be a challenge to contain 10 hours worth of pee in cloth. We have a couple tricks that might work for others, too. First, we always double stuff T's cloth diaper with a regular insert and also a hemp insert, and ours are by Hemp Babies. Hemp has amazing absorption properties and it can soak up a ridiculous amount of pee. Even with a double stuffed diaper we were having some leaks around the top of T's waistband, so I investigated wool covers for nighttime. Wool is basically a magical fabric for cloth diapering----it's breathable, it's warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and it has special anti-bacterial properties that neutralize the pee smell. The fibers of wool hang onto fluid pulling it away from baby thus preventing leaks and it only needs to be washed out about once per week. Score! There's a whole boat-load of info on wool in cloth diaperland so you can google that yourself if you'd like.
I bought our current pair of longies from Etsy seller Myecobaby and absolutely love them. We use the same double stuffed BG 4.0 under these longies and have only had one leak when I think the waistband pulled down too low to let the actual diaper poke out the top. I love that these longies have an elastic band around top to hold them in place and they are super soft, not scratchy at all. There are lots of kinds of wool and some are more absorbent then others, some are softer, etc. We also have a smaller pair of woolies he outgrew from Etsy seller Rebourne and I really loved those, too, and wish they still fit. All in all, using a wool cover at night has been a great solution to nighttime diapering for us.
(custom made from Etsy means we got to pick out the adorable doggie applique! Also, the size is just perfect for Truman and the cuffed legs means he can grow into them)
(our too small longies that I still love, too)
(T in September in his smaller longies)
And finally, for other accessories: we really don't need diaper cream in cloth because Truman doesn't get rashes with his fluffy dipes. He has had two minor diaper rashes so far, once after a trip in disposables and once after Amoxicillan for his ear infection. Pretty good for almost one year old! We do have some awesome cloth-diaper safe cream that we use to 'prevent' rashes, and it is breathable enough to protect his skin without leaving residue on the diapers. It's Grandma El's Diaper Rash Cream and it smells like yummy strawberries. We also have a jar of 'real' diaper cream that isn't safe for our diapers called Triple Paste and it worked wonders when he did have a rash from the meds. You aren't supposed to use regular cream on cloth because it can build up on your diapers and make them repel over time, so we just used a liner first and then applied the cream. I figure that way the diaper didn't get hit with the cream directly and he could still use the heavy-duty cream to heal his little rash----no repelling after we used it, either.
For daycare I have two Planet Wise Wet Bags that I love, and Lori just puts the dirty diapers in there, zips them up, and sends them back home to me. We have two pail liners, also, one by Kissaluvs and one by Blueberry. You definitely need two so there is always one in place during laundry day. Also, we just bought a cheapie 13 gallon plastic trash can from Kmart to use for our pail---it has a step lever and lid and it works just fine for really cheap.
Bottom line recommendations/advice from a lady who has cloth diapered for almost a year:
-do not start cloth diapering right away ( I know, GASP!). Wait until your baby's cord is off, wait until life starts to feel just a little bit more under control, and if you are using 'one size' diapers you should really wait until the baby is 10 pounds although they say they are good at 7 pounds. You do not want to have CD'ing be 'one more thing' in the beginning days that seems overwhelming. You want it to be an enjoyable experience, so wait until you are ready. It's okay, I promise! I know I felt sort of pressured to start right away since so many people knew I was going to do cloth and they wanted to see if it was working (or if I'd already given up, I'm sure). But I knew I had to wait until he was about a month old before I tackled this new territory. So glad I did but I know other mamas have CD'd from day one. Do what is right for you!
- as with anything new, there is a learning curve with cloth. It takes a while to learn how to put them on, to wash them, to store them, etc. Give it at least 30 days before you decide if you like it or not.
-remember that it's totally acceptable to use disposables AND cloth if you want. It doesn't have to be all or none. I know a few ladies who cloth diaper only on weekends and that is totally fine. We choose to do it full time for cost effectiveness but we have absolutely used disposables at times, too. We have yet to travel with cloth and only use disposables then. Sometimes we'll put T in disposables at night if we don't feel like dealing with longies. And sometimes Lori uses disposables on Truman at daycare if she is rushed and doesn't have our dipes handy. That is totally okay and I think if more people tried cloth diapers out without pressure to do it full time, then there'd be a lot more CD'ing mamas out there.
-cloth diapering is not just for stay-at-home-moms. It's not just for tree-hugging hippies either. Also, it really does NOT take that much time out of your day. It's not as gross as you'd think. It's not hard to do. It's very breathable, soft, and good for the baby---it does not cause diaper rashes. You do not have to toilet dunk them like our parents did. Very rarely do you have poop blow outs in cloth. And it really does save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Yes, it does make their butts bigger and fluffier, but darn it if that isn't the cutest part of the whole deal. :)
(there's my little one monther again.....look at that fluffy butt!!)
It's not a perfect diapering system, though. Sometimes we have leaks and it totally ticks me off. But then again, even in disposables we sometimes leak. I really dislike spraying poo off diapers. They will definitely start to smell putrid if we don't wash them every 2-3 days. They are an initial expense, for sure. But for us, the pros of CD'ing outweigh the cons.
Hopefully that covers any question you could possibly have but shoot away if you have anymore. I'm no expert but I have learned a TON in my cloth diapering journey.