Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Diapers I Recommend

These are the diapers I would recommend trying. I would recommend getting a total of 12 diapers and 4-6 covers in any combination and see what you like the best and then buy more of that.

If you want to try prefolds
Chinese or Indian prefolds with Bummis Super Whisper Wraps or Flip one-size covers.

If you want to try fitteds
Mother Ease Sandy's bamboo (or cotton if you are more concerned about money than bulk) with Mother Ease Air Flow snap covers or Bummis Whisper Pants.

If you want to try hybrids
The Flip system and/or the Best Bottom system

If you want to try pockets
bumGenius or Fuzzi Bunz

If you want to try an all-in-one
I guess bumGenius, but I haven't actually tried any others

Monday, June 14, 2010

Diapers I've Tried

You can save a lot of money by using cloth diapers. However, if it becomes a hobby to try different kinds and make your own like it did for me you won't save quite as much. You will still save though and you will probably be able to sell a lot of your used diapers which you can't do with disposables. I have already sold some stuff that I didn't like.

And now, Nicki's Diapers http://www.nickisdiapers.com/ has a 15 day wash and return policy where you can try anything and if you don't like it, wash it and return it within 15 days for store credit. I would have saved tons of money if they had this when I started using cloth. Nicki's is a great place to shop because they have tons of selection in diapers as well as all kinds of other mom and baby stuff.

Here is a list of the diapers I've tried. I have found that I like different styles of diapers for different stages. I put the ones that I used most in bold and indicated which stage I used them in. I am just starting to diaper my second baby and so far I am following a similar trend, but will probably make a few changes.

Chinese - size nb and infant secured with a snappy for first baby, trifolded for second baby
Indian - size nb and infant secured with a snappy for first baby, trifolded for second baby
Econobum by bumGenius
Blue Penguin snap on hemp



Little Lions
Under the Nile
Ecobaby Absorb-it-all - size medium and large
Ecobaby Grow-with-me
Mother Ease Sandy's Bamboo - size large
Mother Ease Sandy's Cotton - size large
Mother Ease one-size bamboo - started using at the same time as Sandy's but did not fit as long
Organic cotton Dream-Eze
Happy Heiny Heiny Hugger
bumGenius bamboo

Bummis Super Whisper Wrap - w/prefolds
Bummis Super Snap
Bummis Whisper Pant - w/fitteds
Thirsties - w/prefolds
Mother Ease Air Flow snap - w/Mother Ease diapers
Sun Seedlings side-snap PUL
Stacinator So Simple - w/Mother Ease diapers


g Diapers
Flip one-size cover w/ stay-dry insert - the covers are good for all sizes, but I only like the inserts on the largest size. otherwise they are too bulky
Flip one-size cover w/ organic cotton insert
Best Bottom snap shell - These are new so I've only used them with my second child. This is a one-size cover and so far they are too bulky with the Best Bottom insert but work well with a tri-folded newborn prefold.
Best Bottom stay-dry insert - These are new so I've only used them with my second child. They are too bulky in the Best Bottom shell but work well in the Flip cover. I am not a big fan of microfiber so I am looking forward to trying the hemp inserts, but so far they have not been able to keep them in stock.

bumGenius one-size - I used these for quite a while as overnight diapers and for a period when my son had outgrown infant prefolds but I hadn't discovered Mother Ease fitted diapers. They fit well, but they can be harder to wash because of odors and repelling and they wear out much faster than cotton or bamboo diapers. If you are going to diaper full-time with these you will need at least 24 and I'm still not sure how many children you could diaper with them. That being said, you would still save a lot of money even if you bought 24bG diapers for each of your children instead of buying disposables.
Fuzzi Bunz - I only had these in small
Dry Bees fleece nighttime
Bum Wear one-size


Monday, February 15, 2010

Washing Diapers

The thing with washing diapers is that you want to get them clean but if you use too much detergent or the wrong kind you'll get buildup on your diapers that cause them either to stink when they get wet or quit working. Diapers made with natural fibers are easiest to take care of. Diapers with synthetic fibers are the ones that tend to have more problems with washing.

Here's how I wash all my diapers (natural and synthetic):
Cold rinse
If there are especially dirty diapers in the load I will shake the bottle of liquid detergent upside down quickly and then rinse out any detergent that sticks in the cap into the rinse water.
Hot wash
Sometimes I do an extended soak and sometimes I just set the soil level to heavy.
Cold rinse
Sometimes I do an extra rinse if I think the detergent isn't going to wash out with one rinse.

You should put the detergent in for the hot wash (after your first cold rinse).

You want to avoid fragrance, brighteners, fabric softeners and other additives. These leave buildup on your diapers. Cheap free and clear detergents have worked well for me, but they sometimes have an added ingredient to block allergens that causes some people problems.

I think the key is not to use too much. A diaper store in town recommended that I use about a tablespoon of a free and clear detergent and a half cup to a cup of baking soda.

Sometimes I add a few drops of tea tree oil to the hot wash as an antiseptic.

It's best to start with a simple wash routine and only adjust if you have problems. If your diapers aren't smelling clean out of the wash you need more detergent. If they repel instead of absorb or stink when they get wet you need to use less detergent and/or do an extra rinse. If you have hard water you may need a few other adjustments.

Here are some good websites with info about washing and detergents. The diaper pin forums are a good place to go if you are having problems and want to find out how other people solve similar problems.

Sunshine Diapers - Washing Info

Sunshine Diapers - Detergent Info

Pinstripes and Polka Dots - Detergent Info

Diaper Pin Forums

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Cover

I made this wool cover too tall. I think I will need to complete another one before I will want to rip this one apart and make it shorter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cloth Inro 4: What to Buy

If you are interested in using cloth diapers full time then most people recommend 24-36 diapers although I have gotten by with only 12 during some stages. Actually, I think 36 is too many. 12-24 is plenty. If you are using prefolds or fitted diapers then you will also need 4-6 covers. If you'll be using cloth wipes you'll probably also want 24-36 of those.

What kind of diapers you use depends on your personal preference. I recommend trying some of each to see what you like the best before you invest in a whole stash. A good way to start is to buy 24 prefolds, 4-6 covers, and a couple fitteds and/or pockets and/or all-in-ones. Then after you figure out what you like you can buy more.

A great resource for cloth diapering is www.diaperpin.com. You can read reviews of different diapers and diaper products and there is also a lot of info about cloth diapering and forums for asking questions.

My personal favorite for cloth diapering is fitted diapers with PUL covers when baby is awake and wool covers when he's sleeping. My husband and I both feel like fitted diapers are the easiest to use, and I prefer natural fibers to synthetic.

Fitted Diapers
To be even more specific I like fitted diapers that have two rows of snaps. I prefer snaps over velcro because velcro can get ratty looking and you have to remember to fold the velcro closed before you wash it or it will snag other diapers in the wash. Also, I've heard that kids can undo velcro and take their diapers off, but snaps are harder for them to undo. I prefer two rows of snaps because I think you get a better fit. The top row is to adjust the fit at the waist and the bottom row is to adjust the fit around the legs. I have tried one-size fitted diapers (they adjust so you don't have to buy differnt sizes as the baby grows), but I don't recommend them. They don't seem to adjust enough to really be a one-size diaper and they don't fit as well as sized diapers.

I have two favorite fitted diapers. One is made of bamboo and one is organic cotton sherpa. The bamboo is trim yet absorbent and stays soft and flexible wash after wash. The organic cotton sherpa is also very absorbent and soft and durable. Sherpa refers to the finish of the fabric. I like sherpa better than fleece cotton because it looks nicer and seems to be more absorbent, but the absorbency could relate more to the brand of diaper. I don't know for sure.

I also use prefolds and pocket diapers when the fitteds are being washed or when I feel like a little variety.

You can get Chinese, Indian, bamboo, and hemp prefolds among others. Chinese and Indian prefolds are both cotton. I've tried both and at first I thought the Indian prefolds were softer, but after months of use and washing I can't tell much difference. Chinese and Indian prefolds come in bleached or unbleached. I prefer unbleached because it's more natural. I've also tried hemp prefolds and as far as I'm concerned if you're going to spend that much money for hemp or bamboo you should just get a more convenient diaper (i.e. a fitted). The real advantage of prefolds is their economy so if you start spending a lot on special fabrics they loose their advantage.

Pocket Diapers
I've tried pockets with snaps and velcro and I've tried one-size diapers and sized. Although the velcro tends to get ratty and you have the laundry hassle I think you get a better fit and the diaper stays on better with velcro than with snaps. The one-size pocket diapers I've tried fit well at different sizes so I think they are better than the ones where you have to buy different sizes because you have to buy fewer.

Although I prefer snaps on a diaper, I think I prefer a PUL cover with velcro. It fits a little better than snaps. Since I've made all of my wool and fleece covers I can't say much about what I like best except that ones that wrap around are a little easier to use than ones that pull up.

Cloth Intro 3: Diapering Accessories

You may want to consider some of these accessories if you are going to use cloth diapers.

You should store wet and dirty diapers in a dry diaper pail. Any pail or trash can with a lid will work. Before baby is on solid food the poop is so runny that it will wash right out in the wash. After baby starts solid food, shake the solid poop in the toilet and put the diaper in the pail.

It's a good idea to have some kind of pail liner in your diaper pail. Then you can just shake the diapers in the wash and throw the liner in with them. You can buy PUL pail liners, but I have found that making my own out of a used sheet works just as well.

If you are using cloth diapers you may as well use cloth wipes as well. In my experience the cloth wipes work a lot better than disposable wipes anyway. You can buy cloth wipes or make them or use cheap washcloths. Terry materials work the best. Flannel doesn't work well because it just smears the mess around instead of wiping it off (much like disposable wipes). You can throw your wipes in the wash with your diapers.

You can use plain water to wet your wipes or you can use a diaper wipe solution. You can buy concentrated solution that you mix with water. I have an 8 oz bottle that has lasted me more than a year.

There are several ways to store and use your wipes and solution. You can store wipes in an old disposable wipe container and pour the wipe solution or water over them. You can spray baby's bottom directly with solution or water and wipe with a dry cloth. Or you can store the wipes dry and then wet them with a squirt bottle as you use them. The last method is what I do.

After baby starts eating solid food flushable liners can help make cleaning easier. The liners are sort of like rice paper that you lay in the diaper and then when the baby poops you just lift the liner out and flush it down the toilet. If the baby doesn't poop on the liner you can let it dry and use it again or wash it with your diapers and use it again.

You may want a stay-dry liner in the diaper to wick moisture away from the baby's skin. You can buy them or you can make them by cutting up fleece from the fabric store (you don't have to sew the edges of the fleece). They can be thrown in the wash with the diapers. I used these for the first several months because I thought that it would be better for my son's skin and I thought he might be more comfortable, but as it turns out I don't think it matters. I quit using them about 10 months ago and he doesn't seem to care and it hasn't affected his skin.

If your baby is an especially heavy wetter you may need extra absorbency in your diaper. You can buy doublers that you lay in the diaper to add absorbency. When you are shopping for doublers be sure that you buy doublers and not inserts. Inserts are for going inside a pocket diaper. Sometimes doublers and inserts can be used interchangeably but in the case of something like microfiber you definitely don't want that touching your baby's skin as a doubler does.

You may want some kind of bag for storing wet diapers when you are out. You can buy wet bags made of PUL or wool or make your own. I use a wool one that I made from an old sweater. Zip lock bags work too.

Cloth Intro 2: Diaper Covers

All prefold and fitted diapers need a waterproof cover of some kind. There are three basic kinds.

Polyurethane Laminate covers are kind of like Gortex. They are waterproof but fairly breathable. The most common PUL covers are wraps. They wrap around the diaper and velcro or snap closed. You can also get pull-up PUL covers. PUL covers come in all kinds of fun prints and colors depending on the brand you use. They are a very economical cover. You can wash them with your diapers if you need to, but they will last longer if you wash them in cooler water.

Wool covers are great b/c they are natural fibers so they are completely breathable and naturally antibacterial and odor resistant. Wool is just amazing stuff. One of the drawbacks of wool covers is that they are usually pretty expensive to buy. However, you can sew your own out of old sweaters or knit or crochet your own for a much lower cost. Another possible drawback is that they do take a little bit of special care. They need to be washed by hand and lanolized (lanolin is what makes them waterproof). However, you only have to do this once a month at most (I do it much less often). You do have to make sure that you have an absorbant diaper under the wool because if your diaper isn't absorbant enough and you are carrying your baby on your hip when he pees you could get wet because of the compression of the wool against your hip. If your baby is just haning out and the wool isn't compressed it won't leak. You can get wool covers that are soakers (pull-on style) or wraps.

Here's a good site with info about wool: http://reviews.ebay.com/Wool-Cloth-Diaper-Covers-The-Comprehensive-Guide_W0QQugidZ10000000000884763

Other posts in my blog have links to sites for making your own wool covers.

Fleece covers are also very breathable, and they are easy to care for because you can wash them with your diapers. They are usually a little more expensive than PUL but less expensive than wool. You can have the same problem with compression causing leaking that wool covers have. If they seem to loose their waterproofness you can dry them in the dryer with a fabric softener sheet to restore their waterproofness. You can also get fleece covers as soakers or wraps.

A benefit of both wool and fleece covers is that you can get them or make them as shorts or pants (longies) so they can work as both a diaper cover and as pants and you don't need to put pants over them.