Hello Along for the Ride readers! I am Alys Hejl and I blog over at Beautiful Imperfections. On August 10, 2012 my life was completely changed when my son Bryant came into the world. My husband and I knew we wanted to cloth diaper him. I have now been successfully cloth diapering for about a month. The first few weeks we did disposable diapers, because having a new baby and trying to cloth diaper seemed a little hard for us plus he didn't fit into the one size diapers as a newborn. We changed so suddenly when he was 2 weeks old because he started getting diaper rashes. Laura asked me to share some tips and tricks with you guys as well as any advice I have for people looking into cloth diapering.
First of all I want to talk about what my husband and I did to prepare for our little one's arrival.
As soon as I found out about cloth diapering from a friend I began to research. I would type in cloth diapering in google and read pretty much any blog or article that popped up. I really wanted to make sure that cloth diapering would work for my family and have factual information to tell people that I might encounter who were skeptical of cloth diapering. My friend had done a little research and had talked to some of her friends who were cloth diapering. She recommended two brands of diapers to us, Fuzzibunz and BumGenius.
Fuzzibunz and BumGenius are all in one pocket diapers. This means that there is a pocket on the inside that holds the liners that you place into the diaper. The inside liner wicks the moisture away from the baby and pulls it into the liner. The outside layer is made of a waterproof material that doesn't let moisture get through, so leaking through the diaper really doesn't happen. These brands have a lot of different sizing options. In the research that I did I found that getting a one size diaper seemed the most cost effective. A one size diaper is a diaper that can grow with the child.
Fuzzibunz one size diapers change sizes by a set of elastic bands that are on the legs and around the waistband of the diaper. Then there are 3 snaps that you snap to size the diaper correctly. BumGenius solely has snaps. On both of these diapers you can choose to get velcro or snaps. I chose snaps because with the velcro they can attach to the other diapers in the wash and cause the fabric to pull a little.
Some of the things that we like about each diaper is that the BumGenius inserts are more aborbant on our little guy than the Fuzzibunz inserts are. But we like the fit of the Fuzzibunz on our son better because they aren't as bulky. We use BumGenius at night and double line it with an extra insert. So for right now we have 9 of each brand making our total 18. For the first couple of weeks of cloth diapering I was doing diapers every day because our son would need a diaper change every time he ate. Now I only need to do laundry every day to two days, depending on how much he uses the bathroom. If you don't want to do laundry that often, then I would probably get 20-24 diapers. I would make sure to buy the extra liners because they come in handy for night time diapers.
One of the things that I would say you should absolutely get and has really helped my husband and I is a travel dry bag. My aunt bought us a G-diaper brand bag and it works wonderfully. It makes it to where we can use cloth diapers when we go out and we don't have to switch him back and forth between disposables and cloth diapers. Also I would suggest getting a dry hanging pail. We got our Fuzzibunz pail from Target. We also bought a clothes line from Ikea and use it to dry the diapers. It works wonders.
My advice to you as a mom that has been doing this for not very long is to really research cloth diapers. It can be overwhelming at first, but stick with it. Places like Cotton Babies not only sell cloth diapers but have a great information section on what cloth diapers are and how it really does save you money. One of my favorite blogs that I read over and over again is Simple Mom's cloth diapering posts. She has a series on cloth diapers that is very good. I would also look on places like cotton babies and try to buy in bulk. That is the only website that I have seen that has packages of diapers instead of having to buy them individually. It can save you a lot of money if you buy in bulk. My husband and I waited until they had an amazing sale and bought in bulk and got our whole entire diapering system for around $400. Also don't be intimidated by the up front cost. It seems like a whole lot, but when you think about it it is just one time. You are only paying this much once and then after that you don't have to spend anymore money. The only extra thing my husband and I spent money on was buying flannel so I could make cloth wipes. (We haven't used those yet, so I don't know how well they work.) One other thing, when you do wash your diapers and they're ready to be put together, put them together then. Don't wait, because if you do you'll be putting the diaper together right before the diaper change. I know because I do it sometimes and it becomes a mad house. Have somewhere that's close to the changing table that you can store your already put together diapers. Put the diapers in the wash in the morning and by mid afternoon your diapers should be dry and you can put them together. :)
My husband also had some advice for dads that are considering cloth diapering: Don't be afraid of poopy diapers it's not that bad. It's just the same as disposable diapers. It's also just as quick to change your baby with cloth diapers as it is with disposables. It's not complicated, even though it sounds like it, it's actually fairly simple.
If you have any questions at all please e-mail me at bryantalys@ gmail.com or find me on Twitter.
I hope you choose to go with cloth diapers if you're on the fence about it. It really is simple and so much cheaper than disposables, plus you're helping the environment. :)
Other words of wisdom:
Diana: Cloth diapers are great! We are really enjoying them. Personally, I'm not very grossed out by them because I figure that either way, you've got to deal with poop. The main difference is where you put it after you take it off the baby - disposables go in the trash, and cloth go in a pail and then into the laundry. I launder every other day, which is what BumGenius recommends, and it only takes one load to wash them all (well, you do two wash cycles, but it all fits in one load). The money we save makes it so worth it to me! I've noticed that my baby's skin is much healthier (less red and rashy) since we started using cloth. I definitely recommend using disposables for the first 6 weeks or so while you get your bearings, and of course keep some around when you need them in a pinch or for traveling, but cloth are great! i was nervous to start with them but now I am so glad we took the plunge!
Holy: I loved using cloth diapers on my kids! I started with my first son, but 14 years ago, cd's hadn't come that far. I did more research and loved using them for my 2nd and 3rd kids. And the major bonus, outside of the money I saved, was that they potty trained SUPER early! Like well before they were 18 months old! Cloth diapers actually cost me quite less because I was able to buy most of them used and then re sell them when I was done. I think I may have made money on them! I do have an engineer husband who did the math for me to take into account how much washing actually cost, but in the long run, it was next to nothing. Much better than putting those diapers in a landfill vs the cost to heat the water. I also used cloth wipes (That I made myself) and loved those. You are right, you are washing diapers anyway, might as well. I carried them with me in my diaper bag and kept a squeeze bottle with water and a little johnsons baby soap in the bottle to wet the wipe when we were on the go.