It still reins true that people ask me weekly about cloth diapers, and I am SO passionate about using them. It doesn't really bother me when people don't use them, after all, that is the way of our nation, and they can seem quite intimidating. When you're a cloth diapering momma, you sort of joint a club, a secret society if you will. You will understand terms such as CD, prefold, pocket, AIO, 3.0, inserts, liners, rice paper, wick, and pull. However, chances are high you'll have no clue how to use a diaper Genie.
I love cloth diapering for so many reasons, really.
First of all, after much research, I have learned that indeed disposable diapers take around 200 years to decompose, some sources say as long as 500 years. This is so very sad to me, why do we try to cut waste in other ways (recycling, reusing, repurposing, etc.), but not with diapering? And the thing is, it is so easy if you really give it a go. Also, if we are completely honest with ourselves, it does contaminate ground water, and that is going to increase the need for water treatment facilities and chemicals added to our drinking water. I can bathe in chlorinated water, but should we really be drinking it?
I also cannot lie, it is so nice to never leave a stinky diaper at a friend's house. It may seem like no big deal, but I have always felt sensitive to this. When I would visit a friend without kids and have Brooke in disposables (because we USED to use them when we went out for ease) I felt horrible leaving a diaper in their trash. I feel like we simply overlook the fact that not every family empties the trash every other day, not everyone has diapers in their garbage. We aimed to put the diapers in the main garbage in the garage when we visited people. (Luckily, breastmilk poop doesn't really stink!) But when you have poopy diapers in the trash- OOOEE! (We take the trash out once a week because we really don't generate that much garbage, more recycling than anything.) With cloth, you HAVE to take the diaper with you (in a wet bag if you care to know) and just deal with it at home. I have no diaper guilt anymore, and man does it feel GOOD!
Also with cloth, I have to come back to the financial side of it. Surely some diapers are $23 a piece- yes, a piece. BUT, you don't have to choose to go that route, you can even purchase used, which are just as good! I have never purchased a diaper for that much though, the most expensive to date was $12.50 because of shipping. According to a diaper calculator, I would spend close to $90 a month on diapers (yes, store brands are cheaper, however, I do not use diapers with chlorine or pellets in them, our family chooses to use chemical free diapers). Clearly, I have to do laundry any way, and I do one load of diapers (and towels if you care*I'll explain this more later) every other day. I broke even on diapers when Brooklyn was 3.5 months old, and I never have to buy another diaper again, but I did, because my cousin found a WICKED sale. (I can't wait to try them Kristen... if you're reading this!)
Cloth diapering forces you to step away from many chemicals and products that simply are not good for you. There has been quite the controversy lately about parabens, petroleum products, and "fragrance" in soaps, shampoos, lotions, diaper rash creams, etc. The benefit to using cloth is really, you CAN'T use these products. I have Triple Paste (from my awesome sister in law and we will use this with disposables if her rash is TOC) and we have Desitin that we used twice when she had a little rash again, in disposables. Because see, if you use these products on cloth diapers, they basically form a barrier to the diaper not allowing it to absorb urine anymore, and that my friends, is a problem. So, you have to stick to more natural creams, such as California Baby, or Grandma El's (seriously... even if you don't care about nature, get THIS stuff, I had diaper rash gone in under 24 hours using this product, it is like a Vaseline, smells DIVINE and can be used for about 101 other things! I also read about Bum Bum Balm... and I hope Jon will get it for a stocking stuffer or something, it's not like Brooke really will remember that her first Christmas was filled with booty pastes, diapers, and clothes anyhow! :) If you want to read more, check out this site: http://safemama.com/?s=diaper+rash LOVE it!
Again on the chemical route of thing, cloth diapers cannot be washed in traditional soaps (they cause buildup on the diapers much like rash creams), so we choose to use Rockin Green detergent and LOVE the stuff. The only setback with these detergents that are safer on cloth, if you get a stain on your clothes (because YES, you HAVE to use whatever soap you choose on EVERYTHING, or it will gunk up your machine and defeat the purpose of NOT using traditional soaps) you have to use a stain stick, stain spray, or... wait for it... the SUN! Jon and I can often be found setting clothes and laying them in the sun to get out stains, it seriously will bleach out just about anything, and we LOVE this! But... on rainy days like today... Spray 'n Wash better cut it... or I'll have a poo stained changing pad, booo.
So yes, I love cloth diapers, and it's okay if you don't. It really doesn't bother me, really. (And no, I don't say in my head- "If YOU want YOUR kids POO to be in a landfill for 500 years, whatev, that's YOUR thing.") It really doesn't bother me, because we have decided this works for US.
But anyway, don't be offended. When it comes to changing and washing diapers, this is what I do (and if you do cloth diapers, just trust me on this, I tried to only wash them... and they kinda stunk to me a little):
1. Remove diaper from baby, if it is a prefold, simply drop into your dry pail (I totally don't do a wet pail, they're pretty gross, and not so safe, or good for diapers really) and set aside your cover, unless it got majorly pooed on. (If just a little poop got on the gusset or something, I wipe it and re-use... usually using 2 covers a day.) If it is a pocket, remove the insert by shaking, or just pull it out for the love, you're going to use a wipe on your sweeties tush anyhow. Then, place diaper and insert in pail, put lid on if you use disposable wipes.
2. If you choose to use cloth wipes, we bought one package and use them, when we run out before another wash, I use disposables, wet the wipe with just plain old water and clean little tushie. We have a spray bottle, or you could go to the sink, but don't leave your kid on the changing table... unless you use your crib like we do! :) Then, just throw the wipe in the pail and cover- seriously, I've left the lid off so it is okay if you forget to put it on, and with just breastfeeding, it doesn't smell at all (until you go to dump it... then day old diapers are a little rank). We have a small garbage to put wipes in if we use disposable ones.
3. Get new diaper, put it on. If it is a pocket, this is super easy like a disposable, if you use prefolds, give yourself a good 2 weeks to get the folding down, it is so easy now. Then, put the cover over if you are using prefolds, make sure the WHOLE diaper is in the cover, or you will have a leak, just saying.
4. Repeat process when necessary.
1. Just after a diaper change I remove the liner from my pail, pull the strings to all diapers are secured inside and trek to the laundry like Santa Claus on Christmas.
2. Dump entire contents of bag into washer, including bag turned inside out, you will get so good you won't even touch a diaper! (You'll just smell the amonia) Run a "quick rinse" cycle, on my machine this takes less than 17 minutes and I use "Tap Cold" for temperature, this helps my diapers not get stained.
3. Since this cycle basically rinsed all the poo off of the diapers, I seriously add towels, rugs, jeans, sweats, whatever to the washer so it is full since I'm going to be using hot. (And YA- I can wash my jeans in HOT since they are a little big- holla!) I add 2 scoops of Rockin Green HARD rock (Rocking Raspberry if you care to know my scent this time around, and let the hot cycle go, I use a 40 minute long cycle, it is called "Light wash" on my machine.
4. Put everything in the dryer and dry on medium or low- WITHOUT fabric softener. Again, fabric softener will cause your diapers to repel the pee! (Or peeps like my Nana would say.) If you NEED something for your clothes, I have read about a few friendly liquid softeners you can add to the wash, Ecover is the name of one, found it at Earthly Goods. Vinegar is also said to work, and the smell neutralizes within minutes.
4*. Or, remove covers and pail liner to let air dry since there really isn't anything To dry on these other than the outside fabric, but you'll see if you cloth diaper that they don't need to be in the dryer.
4**. OR- sun dry, yes, this will get rid of almost every stain, seriously. Maybe I'll do a before and after some time! :)
5. When everything is dry, make 3 piles, prefolds, pockets, inserts. Spend 5 minutes stuffing your pockets so you just grab them when you need them, and put them in a basket/crate/whateveryouchoosetouse.
Why can't you use good old Tide or fabric softeners in other loads? Well, it truly gets IN your machine, and will wipe off onto your diapers in their cycle. What does this mean for parents who need to use public laundry in an apartment or laundromat? Well, you may need a few more diapers so you can wash maybe 2x a week, I'd suggest washing 2 loads of regular clothes with your soap before you do a diaper load, this way, your other clothes will bear the brunt of detergent with additives and hopefully clean out both washer and dryer before you wash your diapers. (Feel the inside of your machine, it has a film.)
It really is so easy, and I am so in love. And seriously, in cloth, BABY GOT BACK (like her momma).
Also- I use Rockin Green CLASSSIC Rock for my regular clothes, lavender mint scent. These smell VERY strong when you open the bag, but virtually no smell is left (seriously... I can't smell a thing) after they are dry.
The negative here, you can't get those wicked coupon deals on detergent, because you just can't use them! But trust me, it is SO worth it! :) Are you CDing? Let me know how it's going!!