Wednesday, September 24, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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.
USING CLOTH WIPES
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.
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.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Prefold diapers and rubber pants were the standard when I was a baby. Today prefold diapers are still a popular option, but waterproof covers that are more breathable than rubber pants have made them a little nicer. A prefold diaper is essentially a rectangle of absorbant material that you fold or wrap around the baby and cover with a waterproof cover. When shopping for prefold diapers you'll notice they are labled with numbers like this: 4x8x4. Those numbers refer to the number of layers in the diaper - four layers of fabric on each side and eight in the middle. Many people get by with two sizes from birth to potty-learning - infant and premium, but there are other sizes if you want a more customized fit. You can fasten the diaper on with pins or with a snappi (see picture below), or you can just lay the folded diaper in the cover and let the cover hold the diaper on. The last option works better with older babies who have solid poop.
Easy to wash and care for.
Moderate dry-time after washing.
Natural fibers (breathable).
Can be used as burp cloths or rags later on.
Can be tricky to learn how to put them on at first, so not good for babysitters.
Can be a little bit more bulky than other diapers depending on what end of the size-range baby is on.
Cotton - $1-$3 each
Organic Cotton - $6-$10 each
Hemp - $6-$10 each
Bamboo - $8-$12 each
Fitted diapers are contoured to fit baby more like a disposable diaper, and they have snaps or velcro closures to hold them on. They have lots of layers sewn in the middle to make them absorbant. They require a waterproof diaper cover. These are my personal favorites and my husband's too.
Very easy to use, so good for babysitters.
Natural fibers (breathable).
Long dry-time after washing.
More expensive than prefolds.
My favorite fitted diaper is about $15.
Pocket diapers do not require a seperate waterproof cover. They are waterproof on the outside and usually fleece or another synthetic fiber on the inside. Then you have to stuff the pocket inbetween with an absorbant insert. They are held on by velcro or snaps. Many pocket diapers come with a microfiber insert. Microfiber is very absorbant but not very bulky. Some people use a prefold diaper as an insert. The fleece lining on the inside wicks moisture away from the baby's skin into the absorbant inside.
Keeps baby's skin dry.
Easy to use once they are stuffed, so good for babysitters.
Fast-drying (if you have microfiber inserts)
Most of them are synthetic fibers which are less breathable than natrual fibers and more prone to buildup of detergents which compromises their effictiveness.
Don't last as long as diapers with a seperate cover.
Some people don't like stuffing them with the insert.
AIO diapers look similar to a pocket diaper, but the absorbant layer is sewn in so there is no stuffing involved. It's a one-step cloth diaper fastened on with velcro or snaps.
Very easy for anyone to use.
Don't last as long as diapers with a seperate cover.
If they are synthetic material same problem as with pockets.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I changed the pattern a little though b/c the front came up too high. I'm pleased with the results and I still have quite a bit of yarn left, so I think I'll experiment with another soaker.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I mentioned laundry tabs in my last post, but I forgot that I never posted about my first diaper with laundry tabs. Here is a picture. Basically a laundry tab is a piece of the loop side of the velcro next to the hook so that you can fold the hook part over on the soft loop side so that the hooks don't snag everything else in your laundry.
Well, I took a break from making diapers for a while, but after receiving some used t-shirts and some really old prefold diapers I decided to make another diaper. I used t-shirts for the body and a prefold for the soaker. I really like this pattern that I've landed on and I like using velcro with laundry tabs instead of a snappi. This diaper turned out to be too big right now, but he'll grow into it. And although I've called this post "Back in the Saddle," I don't think I'll be making as many diapers as before. I want to be a little more picky about the fabric I use so that I'll be happy with the diapers I make instead of making a bunch that I'm not that excited about.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The good news is I found a blog with some great free wool patterns, crochet and knit. I need to learn to knit first before I can try those though. :-) This is the crochet soaker pattern I'm trying now: http://withatangledskein.blogspot.com/2008/02/little-fire-crochet-soaker-pattern.html
Monday, March 3, 2008
One person asked how long it takes to make a diaper. I have to admit that I'm not sure I've ever gotten to sit down and make one from start to finish without interruptions, but it doesn't take very long. I'd say maybe a half an hour per diaper. Actually, I usually cut fabric for several diapers at once and then I may sew together the soaker layers for several soakers, so I'm not usually working on just one diaper at a time, but it goes pretty quickly especially once you've done a couple.
Another thing the blog has done is to provide a way for people to provide me with helpful information. Someone posted a comment saying that windpro is a brand name and the fleece I should look for in the store is alpine fleece or anti pill fleece. Thanks! Very helpful.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Today I made my first soaker from the pattern. The fleece I used is not a great quality so I don't know how well it will work, but it was pretty easy to make so I'd like to make some more with better fleece and try wool too.
I wish that there were directions on the pattern about what kind of fleece to use. There are so many kinds at the store. Maybe I should know that already. The fleece they sell for making diapers is windpro, so maybe that's what I need to use, but I don't know if that is a brand or a type or if you can buy that kind at the fabric store or if you have to order online. Maybe I will try to contact the person who made the pattern and see if she can tell me.
I ordered the pattern a long time ago and just after I did, I made my first wool soaker where you just cut a sweater in a triangle and it made the cute shorties and longies posted earlier. So then I was wondering if it was worth it to buy this pattern, but now that I've made it I think it is a better fit than the triangle soaker and I'm glad I have it.
I'm often excited to get things made and make careless mistakes. So when I was making this soaker I cut the medium sized body and waist and the XL leg bands and didn't realize it until I had sewn one on, but fortunately it was easy to fix. :-)
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
When I was pregnant I made curtains for the baby's room. I made them orange and green b/c we didn't know if he was a boy or a girl and I made them with bold colors instead of pastels b/c I know I won't make new curtains again for a long time and I didn't want it to look like a baby's room when he's older. After he was born, I made a quilt to match the curtains and I put some blue in it since he's a boy. And actually there were a few blue things here and there before b/c I just like blue. Anyway, this isn't about diapers, but it's about something I made, and I'm happy with the way the quilt turned out so I wanted to post it.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I've been doing more experimenting. I can't help myself. I'm addicted to trying new things.
With the first diaper I tried the birdseye fabric on the outside b/c I thought it might be soft and the snappi hooks to it easily. The inside is t-shirts. I used an old towel for the soaker. In another diaper where I used an old towel it worked well, but in this one it seemed to bunch a little. Hmm.
This second diaper is t-shirt and clearance cotton. I didn't sew in a soaker b/c for some reason I thought maybe I could make them faster if I made the body and the soakers separate and just laid the soaker in the diaper. It won't be faster, but I guess it's a nice experiment. I always use a fleece liner in my diapers to wick moisture away so I made one side of the soaker of fleece so it doubles as a liner.
This third diaper is t-shirt and clearance cotton with microfiber for the soaker. Microfiber really works the best b/c it's the least bunchy and most absorbent.
The last diaper also has a microfiber soaker. The body is three layers of t-shirt and the inner layer is fleece. I thought I'd try it to make it a "stay-dry" diaper.
I haven't tried the last three diapers yet so I don't know how they will work, but I'm curious to see how the sewn in fleece works.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I made another wool wrap with the tickle turdle pattern, but this time I made the large size and then I felted it (shrunk it on purpose). I wanted to try a felted wrap b/c it will be more waterproof since the fibers become matted together and it's softer. I was a little nervous b/c I was afraid I wouldn't like it, but I really do. So here's a picture of it before it was felted and after and a close-up of after. Here's the pattern link again:
Thursday, January 31, 2008
So I've been experimenting with different fabrics and different patterns for my diapers. I mentioned earlier that I've tried flannel, t-shirts, and clearance cotton for the body and flannel, t-shirts, microfiber, and birdseye diapers for the soakers.
The flannel soaker didn't work at all. It's all bunched up inside and I can't use the diaper anymore. The only flannel diaper that is okay is the one with an inside body of t-shirt and a soaker of microfiber b/c the microfiber is nice and flexible and there are only two pieces of flannel. Any diaper with more than two pieces of flannel or a stiff soaker is too stiff and dries to slowly.
I was doing mostly microfiber soakers b/c they are so flexible and absorbent, but then I started reading on diaperpin.com that lots of people have problems with microfiber stinking after a while. So I went back to using layers of t-shirt or birdseye.
The clearance cotton fabric is okay, but it's woven more tightly than the t-shirts and makes it harder to fasten with a snappi. I decided I prefer using a snappi to sewing velcro on. The velcro is tricky in the wash and it just takes more time to make the diaper.
I was also trying different patterns to see if I could adjust the fit of the diaper, but that resulted in some ridiculously ugly though usable diapers.
Basically, after all my experimenting I like my first diaper the best. The blue and green one made exclusively of t-shirts. I will finish using up the clearance cotton b/c it's not bad and I don't want to waste it, but I think from now on I any new fabric I acquire for diapers will be t-shirts. I think I will make soakers of either t-shirt, birdseye, or microfiber. They all work well. I have modified the original pattern only slightly to make the wings longer so I hope it will fit a little longer. The two diapers here are made with that pattern. The flowered one is my clearance fabric with a birdseye soaker. The white one is all t-shirt.
I went to savers yesterday and got a couple t-shirts and three wool sweaters to continue making recycled diapers and covers. Now I just have to decide what kind of covers I want to make out of the sweaters. Longies? Shorties?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
It was super fast and easy and I think it's pretty cute. Maybe I will look for more wool sweaters at goodwill.
I thought it would be fun to take inventory of my cloth diaper stash and evaluate what I've purchased. So here is my inventory and my thoughts about it.
Prefolds/Contours and PUL Covers
|24||infant size bleached Chinese Prefolds|
|12||premium size unbleached Indian Prefolds|
|6||small kissaluvs contour|
|1||NB prowrap (color)|
|2||Small BSWW (print)|
|2||Small Thirsties (color)|
|3||Medium BSWW (white)|
I really like prefolds and covers, but I like trying new things too so I tried the KL contours. I bought them as a cheaper alternative to a fitted diaper, but as it turns out they don't work well. They didn't absorb much and since there wasn't any elastic on the legs everything leaked out the side. So far I like the Indian prefolds better than the Chinese b/c they are softer, but I hear they don't last quite as long. I like unbleached better than bleached b/c I like a natural look better. The BSWW seemed to fit better over a prefold than the Thristies cover did, but the Thirsties fit better over my homemade fitted diapers. I wish that I would have remembered the litewrap and prowrap when I was buying my medium sized wraps b/c they are cheaper than either the BSWW or the Thirsties and I seem to remember liking them as well. (It's hard to remember b/c I used them for such a short time.)
Pockets and Inserts
|4||bumGenius one-size pocket|
|1||small Fuzzi Bunz pocket|
|1||medium Fuzzi Bunz pocket|
|1||medium Dry Bees Fleece Nighttime Pocket|
|1||Bum Wear one-size pocket|
|10||Cotton Babies one-size microfiber insert|
|2||Large Happy Heiny's Micro-Fiber Insert|
When I first learned about cloth diapers I thought I wouldn't like pockets at all, but I received the FB as a gift and I tried the bG on the recommendation of a friend and found that pockets are quite useful. They are great for going out b/c they are easier to pack in the diaper bag than prefolds and covers. It turns out that they are the only thing we use at night too. We were using disposable at night but they started leaking every night so we switched to a pocket with two CBOS inserts and rarely get a leak anymore. As far as brands go the bG OS are the best. The fact that they are one-size is really useful and I prefer the velcro closure to snaps b/c you get a better fit. FB are good diapers, but just not as good as bG. The Dry Bees diaper leaked terribly the one time we used it at night so I haven't tried it at night again b/c I don't want to have to change my son's pajamas and sheets in the middle of the night again. I use it during the day and it's fine, but it's a little narrow for the insert. The Bum Wear diaper doesn't work at all as a one-size diaper in my opinion. I couldn't get it to stay on the smaller size, but it works fine as an overnight pocket and it comes in really cute colors and prints.
|1||Baby Moon Diaper Wipe Concentrate|
|2||Small Bac Out|
|2||Large Bac Out|
|2||Tea Tree Oil|
|1||Large Bummis Flushable Bio-soft Liners|
|1||Flannel Baby Wipes (15)|
|10||Kissaluvs Knit Terry Wipes|
|10||BabyKicks Hemparoo Washies/Wipes|
|1||Wahmies Diaper Pail Liner|
|1||Snappi Diaper Fastener (3)|
The diaper wipe concentrate smells really good and lasts a long time although sometimes it's easier to just use plain water. I poor the bac out on dirty diapers. It's supposed to start cleaning them while they sit in the pail waiting for wash day. I think it works well. I use a few drops of tea tree oil in the wash occasionally b/c it has antiseptic properties. The flushable liners are nice although often the solids shake off the diaper just fine and I don't need a liner. The flannel wipes work just fine, but I like the terry and hemp ones better. They are both softer and I think they work a little better b/c they are textured on one side. I love the pail liner b/c it's such a pretty color (cornflower blue). I like snappis b/c I don't like having a loose diaper in my cover. I think it works better if it's a little tighter and I prefer snappis to pins.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Here is the wrap I made using this pattern:
I think theirs look better. This pattern was a little harder to follow than the other one b/c she didn't give a particular number of stitches. Those of you who know me know that I prefer specific directions. As I was working on it I also found some of the stitches and directions strange and I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but I think in the end I like the way it fits. It has extra room in the butt and the top doesn't come up too far in the front like it does on the soaker. I thought about trying to attach buttons to fasten it on, but a snappi works really well, so I don't think I'll bother with buttons.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Here's a picture of the wool soaker in use. I've used it a lot now and I love it. It works great and I think it must be more comfortable than the synthetic covers. It feels more flexible and might be trimmer. I want to make more wool covers, but I'm going to try out different patterns.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
This is a pattern for making a wool cover out of an old sweater:
I have tried the first crochet pattern, but I haven't tried the other two patterns yet.
The instructions for the first pattern were great - very clear and easy to follow. I first did the medium size and it was way too big for my six-month-old son. Then I redid it in the small size. I didn't like the frilly edge to the leg openings and they were a little too big so I just stitched a row around the leg opening and then stitched a second row where I skipped every fourth stitch to make the opening smaller.
Here is what it looks like.
I think it's really pretty. I love the yarn. It's Patons Classic Wool Merino yarn. I got some Eucalan No Rinse Wool Wash from nickisdiapers.com to soak the cover to restore the lanolin. I doubt the yarn still had lanolin in it.
I would like to try to adjust the pattern to change the fit if I can. The front comes up too far on my son's tummy and I folded it down. I'm not sure if I know how to adjust a crochet pattern to fix that though. I've only tried the cover twice and I may have felt a hint of dampness, but it was so slight that I'm not totally sure. So I guess I don't know for sure if it was waterproof. Maybe I need to soak it in the lanolin rinse some more. I don't really know a lot about wool covers, so I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong. I will have to try it some more. I also want to try the other patterns.
These two diapers have birdseye diaper fabric for the inside layer. I don't know what difference that makes from t-shirts but thought I'd try it. The outside layer of the top one is t-shirts. The outside of the bottom one is t-shirt on one side and a crib sheet that was too tight and kept ripping on the other side. I thought it would make a cute diaper, but not be really absorbent or soft so I put it on the outside. I may have to sew velcro on this one b/c the snappi doesn't hook on to the sheet. Both of them have microfiber soakers. These microfiber soakers are from the auto department. I got eight for $8. They are cheaper than the microfiber towels you find in the kitchen or cleaning departments. I think mine might be a little too big though. Since microfiber is so absorbent I'm not sure they need to be that big. I think I may cut the rest down a little.