Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cloth diapers, by request

First let me say that I love our cloth diapers. I love the big tushy they give Teagan and how cute and colorful they are. In comparison, disposables look like toilet paper to me. I didn't really anticipate that I would feel that way, but there it is. So, I am starting with a pic of Teagan in her light green bum genius one size diapers.

Okay, as far as the cloth diapering experience in general, I'll start there. First I went with one size diapers that adjust via snap (bum genius) or elastic (fuzzi bunz) as your child gets bigger. As a result, I had to use disposables until my daughter got to about 9 lbs, which was a while for us since she was born just under 7 lbs. Once we started, things went well. Both kinds of diapers have small inserts for when your baby is little and big inserts for when they grow, so we started little. Initially, I was doing a load of laundry a day, but after about a month, that went to one every other day (I have about 25 diapers). Note: I change her ALOT, probably more than most because I tend to hate the idea of wet soggy bottoms but most people say this many diapers can get you through 2 days at least before you need to wash.
Things to be aware of with cloth diapering: you want to buy good detergent that won't damage them. My favorite is Country Save which I buy online in boxes of 4. Its cheap, safe for the environment and very very mild. Also, if you are going to cloth diaper, don't buy traditional diaper creams. You can only use them if you put a liner between the cream and the diaper, instead, I've used Grandma El's diaper remedy, which I love. In fact, I haven't had to use any at all since the very beginning when Teagan was allergic to the first detergent I used. Since then, not a single rash until this awful yeast one from the formula. Also, be aware that cloth diapers (whichever kind you choose) are bigger than modern disposables so you may want to buy bottoms slightly bigger than tops when you buy clothes (I worried about this because I didn't realize it until much later but we honestly haven't had much of a problem since baby clothes are usually so stretchy, the only problems I've had are with non-stretchy materials, which I think I have 2 or 3 bottoms of).

Here is my experience: I really like the Bum Genius diapers we bought. My husband is willing to use them, the daycare at the YMCA is willing to use them and they don't need a lot of explaining if I have to leave her with my mom. They work exactly like a disposable, with velcro and all. There have only been a few leaks and they were mainly caused by Teagan growing out of the newborn inserts and mommy refusing to believe it, so hanging on to the little inserts against her better judgement. As soon as I changed to the regular inserts (which snap up to be made smaller with the smaller size), the leaks stopped. The colors are great. Her giant tushy is so cute. There is, however, one drawback...the velcro. The very thing that makes these so convenient is the very thing that concerns me in terms of longevity. So far, I've followed the rules and they are hanging in there, but one of the main selling points to my husband was that cloth diapering saves a lot of money, so the idea was to have these work through potty training. I am skeptical that they will. I might be proven wrong, but I'm still skeptical. Velcro just isn't that long lasting. But its so darn convenient! Anyway, if this is a concern for you, look into the fuzzi bunz diapers (I have a few and LOVE THEM, maybe equal to, maybe better than the bu.m genius), which are snap closure or look into the new bum genius snap diapers.

Other concerns - with the All-In-One (AIO) diapers, you get a water wicking liner right against your baby's tushy and the inserts are usually made of microfiber, which is super absorbent. However, if you've ever used high performance fabrics at the gym or outdoor sports, you know that these fabrics have a tendency to retain odor. It took me a while to figure it out but you need to add an extra rinse cycle at the end of your washing and then once a month or so add a little (less than 1/4 cup) of bleach to the hot cycle (this is actually recommended by the makers of bum genius, on their website). This is a problem with both brands that I use but has been fixed now that I'm cognizant of the issue.
Also, don't waste money on an expensive diaper pail. Buy a cheap one with a few diaper pail wetbags (I use ones by planetwise that are great). When it is time to wash, I just pop the bag inside out into the washer, throw the bag in with it and clean it all...as a result, I have 2 of these wetbags (which are apptly named, I guess, though you don't need to put any detergent, deodorant or water or anything in with the diapers so they aren't wet from THAT or anything).

I also have a few prefold diapers that I use mostly as burp cloths but when I want to air teagan's tushy out (like the last few days with this yeast rash), I've been using them without a cover for breathability. They are handy for that but I know hubby would never use these and they aren't nearly as absorbent and the minute they get even a drop wet, Teagan lets me know (also handy for the yeast thing, but overwhelming regularly I am sure).

Last, I've used homemade cloth diapers that someone gave me that have a snap closure, are very absorbent and have an insert that snaps directly against the bottom (the all-in-ones you have to stuff the insert into the diaper and under the liner, these just snap in on top of the diaper and against your baby's tush). I didn't love them. They seemed to leak a lot but that was probably this particular one (which seems popular here, I happened to have one it in the baby expo grand prize thing).

I hope this was informative. I get the feeling I've left a TON out of what I intended but I started the post, ran to the gym, and then finished it, so I absolutely lost my train of thought. If anyone who uses other brands wants to chime in, please comment. I can only speak of the ones I've used. Overall, I love the diapers I have. So far, they have definitely hung in there and have been amazingly easy to use. I've heard that they have lasted through one child to over 2 years and then were used with a second child, so I'm probably being unusually harsh on the velcro and I will be nicely surprised but I didn't want to steer anyone wrong.


Jill M. said...

Thanks for the review! We just started using our cloth diapers this last week. I'll probably give a preliminary review in my next post or so. Keep us posted!

Pie said...

This is very helpful, thanks! Did you ever consider a diaper service? Did you have thoughts on pros/cons of them? I think I could convince DH to use cloth, but washing them in our little stackable washer would not fly.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!!

kayjay said...

I would love to use cloth diapers but the thought of having to do it for two...it just defeats me. I run laundry almost every day as it is - I don't think I could face the additional washing required. However, if I ever want to know about it - your review was very informative!

In response to your question to me, the short answer is yes, I am exclusively breastfeeding my twins. I am planning on posting about it but it took me a long time to be able to get to this point. I started off with 100% formula bottle feeding the two in the NICU so I've come a long way. Details to come in a post on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Sue - I've followed your blog for a while now and have really enjoyed it. Reviewing your recent posts about another cycle, I wanted to pass on some additional information that may be helpful.

I wanted to let you know that RMA-NJ began emulating CCRM either last year or the year before that. I did one cycle at RMA-NJ and one cycle at CCRM; at RMA-NJ, I did the long lupron protocol and CCRM the mini-flare protocol. In each case, I had 6 embryos which went for genetic testing (microarray). RMA-NJ is the facility that does all the microarray testing for CCRM. I had a couple of more normals with CCRM but I think that was random.
RMA cost me about $5,000 less and I also saved all the flight and hotel costs. I welcomed a beautiful baby girl a few months ago from that process.
The main difference I found is that CCRM has much better support staff so it was easier to get questions answered whereas RMA support staff is not as strong.
AT this point, RMA should have some stats on implantation rates, live birth rates, etc. that would enable you to do a better comparison.
Since you had success with CCRM, it may be hard to go elsewhere but I just thought it might be helpful to pass on this information.

Good luck in whatever you choose!

Retro Girl said...

Wow - you're a cloth diaper guru! I've only tried pre-folds with thirsties, which has seemed to work for us. I've heard the same thing about the diaper cream...do you know why? Just curious...I have no idea.

We've done a lot of traveling this summer and use disposables when we are on the road. What's interesting is that E only gets diaper rash in disposables. I think it's because her bum isn't use to all those chemicals.

I agree with the cute looking big bum! ;-). And buying bottoms a size up - learned that the hard way.

Your cutie is a beauty, btw.