I wrote about cloth diapering mister Truman quite a bit throughout his diapered life, but I haven't really touched on how we've tackled diapering with Cecelia and Porter. I still get a lot of questions about cloth and I'd love to have one specific post that could hit the main points. You'll have to forgive me if I don't go into much detail--I definitely think the second and third times around I've thought about and analyzed CDs about 2% as much as I did the first time. We kind of just went with what worked for Truman and applied that to CC and Porter. It's honestly NOT hard to use cloth and do your own laundry. I promise. And the amount of money we save by using cloth is still really satisfying for us. Plus, they are super cute, obvi.
Previous cloth diapering posts, to make this the go-to post in which all CD posts are linked:
CD Debate part 1: discussing the general pros and cons of CDing, while still pregnant
CD Debate part 2: starting up my initial stash with mostly prefolds and covers
Why CD: a bunch of links about why CD'ing is a positive thing to choose
Prefolds and websites: where to buy prefolds, comparing sites
CD update: one month into cloth diapering a real baby
CD evolution: diapering an 11 month old on the move, solid foods included
I can't really tell you what it's like to have two kids in cloth, since Truman was potty trained pretty 'early' at 29 months, just one month shy of turning two-and-a-half. He really started to show an interest to the potty at 19 months but then the excitement died down and we packed away the potty chair until we just went for it with the 3 day method in August. I think some of our success had to have been the cloth, but we were just really lucky overall with that kid. They do say that when kids wear cloth they can feel the wetness better than in disposables and they learn to dislike feeling wet quicker. Whatever the case, it's SO nice having only one in diapers. Those few months when both kids were crapping their pants was pretty nasty---the assembly line of diapers got really old.
(Update: Totally have two in diapers for real now. Cecelia shows no real signs of being ready to potty train and I am d-r-e-a-d-i-n-g it with her, so C and Porter are both in cloth right now. It's not so bad.)
We now use all Bum Genius 'one size' pocket diapers with C + P, and we have a mix of the 3.0 and 4.0 styles (but regrettably none of the amazing artist series prints--someday!). We bought 12 new 'girlie' colored BG diapers just for CC at a great price from my friend Darci--since her baby girl couldn't tolerate the microfiber material well. Score for us! We also still use some of Truman's 18 BG diapers because they held up pretty good for nearly 2.5 years of abuse. But the inserts for his diapers are definitely more 'beige' than the pretty/fluffy white of the new dipes, and sometimes I can tell when someone is wearing one of their brother's old diapers. Cause it reeks and I'm too lazy to actually strip them down just yet. I guess discoloration and stank is normal considering the purpose of a diaper, huh? We have about 20 diapers in rotation for the two kids right now, not really sure why I don't find the other 10 we own to bring that total up to 30. We only had 18 BG for Truman and it worked out just fine.
So how are they holding up, since some of the ones we use are over four years old? Well, they are diapers so they aren't as pretty as they used to be. They've been well used and well loved, so the elastics around the legs have definitely gotten stretched out a bit over time. Especially the diapers that were Truman's back in the day---those are very obviously worn. HOWEVER, I have a solution!!! An awesome reader of mine actually emailed asking me what can be done for over-stretched elastics. I told her I had no idea but needed to figure something out and she came through by finding this amazing You Tube video to fix the elastics without sewing. Mind-blowing. I did this to all of our diapers and it worked like a charm.
But I have to be honest here: I haven't used cloth diapers at night for Cecelia or Porter....EVER. And I think we stopped using them at night on Truman for the last 6-8 months of his diapering career (ha!). I attribute this mostly to laziness, because I do NOT want to change a diaper in the middle of the night during our many, many wake ups. The sposies hold the pee so much better than cloth that they are my choice for nighttime right now. Although I will say that with Truman, we had a lot of luck at night using hemp and bamboo inserts. The hemp ones were by Hemp Babies and the Bamboo ones may have been from Kangacare. I honestly cannot remember. I'd use the same pocket diapers but then I'd use two regular inserts and one hemp/bamboo one. Yes, this means a HUGE gigantic diaper. But it did work with a few rare leaks.
I know I *should* start trying this technique with Cecelia and Porter but it's just so darn easy to use a disposable at night. Especially since we already have to buy some disposables for them anyway for daycare---Lori originally agreed to using cloth on Truman but then her hand arthritis got so bad that she couldn't do the snaps or the velcro anymore. I was hoping to get her back on the cloth bandwagon but each time I ask her hands are still too sore, so I'm dropping it. She offered to split the cost of the daycare disposable diapers anyway, since she had originally told us that cloth was fine. So we take turns buying diapers for Lori's house which means we very rarely have to buy a pack of diapers at all. A box of diapers lasts us a loooong time by just using one at night, and then a few during the three days a week she is at daycare. We use Target's Up & Up brand for disposables and seriously, they are awesome and cheap. I suppose this makes me less crunchy and green, and the hard-core CD'ing mamas are probably shaking their heads at me right now. But that's okay. I'm totally fine choosing to mix up our diaper choice. I still love cloth and am 100% happy with using it during the days I'm home with the kiddos.
You might remember that I first used prefolds and covers for Truman before finally upgrading to the more expensive pocket diapers. I never went back to prefolds with newborn Cecelia and we just skipped right to the big dogs once she turned one month old. I wanted her to be at least 10 pounds before we started and I think we only had to buy a few packs of newborn (Up&Up) diapers during those first few weeks. Same with Porter as we have no shame in the diapering game and like being a hybrid family.
I still ALWAYS tell new mommies this bit of advice: if cloth diapering just feels like one more thing to deal with and it's way too overwhelming in the early weeks, then just wait. It should be kind of fun and exciting and not some big burden. I know it's hard when you've told all of your friends and family that you will cloth diapering the babe because you feel 'pressure' to make it work. But if you just wait and give it a shot when life is at least a little bit more normal, you are setting yourself up for success instead of just rushing right into it.
Truman had about two diaper rashes EVER, and both times it was right after antibiotics. We used Grandma Els diaper rash cream on him because it's one of the only CD-safe creams out there. It smells SO freaking good---like strawberries. It's good for rash prevention, too, so even if CC's but looks the tiniest bit red I'll smear some of this on there. But when Truman did have an actual rash, I used Triple Paste---which is definitely NOT CD-friendly, but is the complete bomb when it comes to diaper creams. We'd just use flushable liners to keep the cream off the diaper itself and it worked like a charm. We also used those same liners with every single diaper once Truman got old enough to have utterly nasty adult-like poops. The liners make it SO easy to just plop right into the toilet without a sprayer---although we did have one of those, too. I just didn't like it that much though and we left it attached to the good old toilet in the duplex. Adios, baby.
So the laundry? Totally doable. I tend to do CD laundry every 2-3 days although I'm sure it would be more if I CD'd full time. Our new washer has a cycle that is perfect for the dipes: it's a cold wash, then a hot wash, and a double rinse. Yes, it's a pretty long cycle (about an hour?) but I never have to go back down and restart the machine anymore. Sweet! It's also a high efficiency washer so it doesn't use a whole lot of water, and our Rockin Green detergent is still working like a charm for us. Then I will pop everything in the dryer on the 'sanitize' cycle which is extra hot, I guess. The final step is stuffing the inserts into the diaper covers and although I kind of dread this part it actually takes about 5 minutes total. Every now and then I will add a little bleach to the washer, or I'll do a Rockin Green soak---but otherwise, this breastfed poop stuff is simple. I know it's about to get a lot more challenging with solids so I'm living up the easy CD life right now.
Thankfully there are a few websites that will let you trial some diapers before making the financial commitment. I think this is a fabulous idea, personally. Diaper Junction will let you test drive certain brands for 30 days for FREE. Jillian's Drawers also has a trial and it costs you only $10 if you don't like them.
I'm not sure what else to include in this post. The original posts I linked to from the pregnant-with-Truman days were super detailed with websites and links and articles that might be interesting if you are considering CDs. The bottom line is that they are really easy, save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars, are good for the earth, good for their bums (less diaper rash!), and cute. I definitely don't think I'm any better than moms who use disposables full-time. At all. I use disposables part of the time now anyway and I definitely 'get' the convenience of them. I just really, really like to save money. Cloth lets you do that and once you get past their learning curve, they are easy.
Let me know if you have any questions or things that I should add to this post. I'm no expert but I feel like cloth diapering isn't new and scary anymore for us, so maybe I can help a few moms out there who are interested in giving it a go.