Monday, November 21, 2011

How to cloth diaper-without breaking the bank

When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time researching. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. The decision I came to was that cloth diapering was what was best for my child, as well as my budget. Since my budget is really just a laughable figure that I somehow, amazingly, support myself and Kitty on each month, even if I wanted to do disposable, I just wouldn't be able to afford it. So like most things in my life, I had to get creative on how I would be able to provide such necessities for Kitty and myself. I have had several friends ask lately about cloth diapering, so I am going to provide a blog about how to Cloth Diaper, without breaking the bank.

Kitty and his best friend Zoey. He's looking dapper in an owl print Blueberry diaper.

You can be as crunchy/hippie/tree hugging as you like. No judgment here. I have many friends who cloth diaper-all to varying levels. Some I call the purists. They ONLY use cloth. Cloth diapers, wipes, etc. You won't catch them using "Sposies". There are others, I call hybrids. They use cloth while at home, but use disposables at daycare, grandmas, on the road, etc. They usually use disposable wipes as well. If they are rich, they pay a diapering service to come and wash their cloth diapers. But most of my friends aren't rich, but they do run more of the hybrid line of cloth diapering-using cloth mostly, but not entirely. Then there are the curious ones. They watch like those gawking at a car accident when they see a cloth diaper. They have tons of questions and always look baffled. I happily explain how cloth works and I usually get the "Well, that's nice but it's too expensive". I would love to explain to you how that's not true-Cloth is FAR cheaper than disposables, even with the water and electricity costs to wash and dry them.

Kitty and his new cow print diaper. It's hard to get him to hold still. Like the necklace? It takes away teething pain. Ask me about it!

My friend Jessica is what inspired this journey with her recent comment to me...
"Ok, another question! I was reading your blog and I am interested in cloth diapers (my husband is VERY hesitant).Right now we use Pampers Swaddlers and I really like them because this yellow line turns blue even if it is the tiniest bit wet. I always change him when it is blue even if he feels dry (because who wants to sit in even a tiny bit of urine?) but we have been flying through diapers! Especially since he started baby food and is pooping 2-4 times a day, we have been going through a big box a week to a week and a half (which is over 100 diapers so about $30 a week)."
Wowza! Who would want to spend $30 a week on just one baby? For less than $200, I have all the cloth diapers I will need to last til Kitty is potty trained...So let's begin our cloth journey.
Kitty shows off how to use a Fuzzibunz as a swim diaper...just pull out the insert, make snug and VOILA! Swim diaper!

How many do you need?
  • I have about 15 or so. I wash diapers every 2 days. You really wouldn't want to leave them longer than that, they will get stinky.
How do you wash them?
  • When a baby is small, just simply wash. Once they start eating solids and the poo changes consistency, you will either need to dump it in the toilet or use a sprayer to get the solids off. I'm lazy, so I just shake what I can into the toilet and call it good.
  • When I wash (and everyone who washes cloth will do it different-so this is by no means the only way to do it) First, soak the diapers in cold water (in a basin or washing machine). I use 1 tablespoon Charlie's Soap, 1/4c. Oxiclean and 1/4c. baking soda, with a Hot Wash, Cold Rinse Cycle. I follow with an additional rinse. 
  • You can line dry or put them in the dryer. They dry quickly, especially if you just have covers.
  • Other awesome detergents are Rocking Green or Planet...know of any others? Let me know, I'll add them!
What do you use for wipes?
  • Depends on your preference. I use both cloth and disposable. I don't like cloth for big poo messes. Some of my purists friends use cloth for everything. I use Seventh Generation and wash them when I'm done. They turn out great to use one more time as a wipe (just re wet) or as a Kleenex! If it's a hot mess in Kitty's diaper, I just toss those wipes.
I recommend this shop for adorable wipes like these Trade from Scratch

Do I have to use just cloth?
  • Nope! I use disposables at night time, because I want his bottom to be a bit dryer during the night, since he sleeps about 6 hours in a stretch. But 2 disposables a day vs. 7-10, is much cheaper!
  • With cloth diapers, during the day, you will need to change them more often than a disposable. Depending on how much your child wets will necessitate how often they get changed. I change Kitty about every 1.5 hours.
Can I still use diaper cream?
  • Yes you can, but you need to put a barrier between the diaper and the cream. I just use a small cloth, or wipe in between the tushy and the diaper.
  • If you get any diaper cream on it, don't freak out, you can get it out by following these instructions, Diaper cream and Cloth
What kind do I get?
What is the difference between a Cover and an AIO (All in One)
  • A cover is simply that, it covers. You need to put a liner in it. It works great for nap time or overnight, when you need to put extra liners.You can get liners here Liners
Blueberry Diaper Cover, outside. Snap rise, Velcro tab

Inside of Cover. I put a duel liner with a hemp liner for nap time. Looks a bit like a cod piece when done, but it totally works.
  •  Prefolds can also work in covers. You can fold them around baby, or just fold in three and line the diaper cover. Prefolds This way, you only need to let the cover dry between pee diapers and only wash with poo diapers.
  • Think you may want to try a cover to see if you're cloth ready? These look promising and thrifty. Econobum  Buy One get One Free
  • An AIO  has all the material already there, you would just put it on, no liner needed.
  • Onesize, means the diaper is adjustable (like the picture below) rather than small, medium or large, which are based on weight. The onesize are the cheaper option, as you can adjust them to fit. 
  • A pocket diaper (like the one below) is where you stuff a liner into the pocket.
Showing how the liner goes into the diaper, you just stuff it!

Lotus Bumz diaper-like most, these are an all size diaper, with adjustable height snaps, as well as adjustable waist snaps.

What else do I need?
  • 2 or 3 wet bags, for traveling
Wet bag, will hold about 4 used diapers, just wash with diapers.

  • A diaper pail and liner bag
  • A sprayer, or as my friend Emmy does, a rubber spatula she keeps under the sink as her official "poo scraper" :)
  • You can find these items here Diaper accessories
Do I have to buy commercial cloth diapers?
  • Nope. There are many Work at Home Moms who do a fabulous job of making their own. One I recommend is: Snappy Bottoms

Okay...hopefully I answered your questions. Perhaps I even converted you to cloth. Your cute little cloth diapered baby butt will be the envy of all the playgroup dates. Plus you'll feel amazing when you start counting up all those lucky duck bucks you saved. Plus, to make this an even better deal...when you are done with diapers, they are super easy to resell, and they hold their re-sale value well. Used cloth diapers go for about $8-10 in good condition.  Sounds like a great thrifty deal! I believe raising babies is as expensive as you make it. As I said, Kitty and I get by on a dismal amount of money, and we are happy, healthy and thriving. :)

Kitty in a train print Fuzzibunz. How adorable is he?

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