Well, we are going to do it. After 9 months of just thinking about it, wondering if we should or should not-we are finally going to diaper or wee one in cloth! The thing that finally pushed me to finalize by wishy-washiness (well two things actually) was that we hate the fact we are contributing to the horrendous landfill madness ( I read that one baby can produce 1 ton of waste in their first year alone! Yes, ONE baby, ONE ton) and of course that we could have been saving a whole wack of money. So we didn't reap the benefits of cloth diapering for the first 9 months, but we are planning on having more kiddos, so we'll definitely use them then from the start.
So it was hard to decide which diapers to get. I knew absolutely NOTHING about anything to do with cloth diapering, so I spent all weekend reading. I read reviews, I read different mom's answers to FAQs, Cloth Diapering 101 sites, how to wash and maintain cloth diapers...I read so much that at night when I closed my eyes all I saw were diapers! After all that reading I learned so much. Here are a few of the things I learned:
- You don't have to do laundry every single day. Unless you only have enough diapers to last you one day (which is not recommended) you can get away with doing laundry every 2-3 days.
- Washing cloth diapers is easy. I thought it would be disgusting and that the diapers would be gross and stained. But the poop is flushed down the toilet and any remaining streakies will come out in the wash.
- You will not use more laundry soap or a special detergent. It's actually recommended that you use 1/4 the amount you would normally use for a large load. This is because too much detergent can build up on the diaper and interfere with the absorbency. Some actually say it's better to just wash with vinegar because it is effective in removing lingering smells and cleans just as well.
- It is possible to cloth diaper with a front load washer. I thought we wouldn't we able to effectively wash the diapers in our front loader. But you can! I may have to do one extra rinse cycle once in a while, which is great because that way we save water too.
-The best stain remover is the sun. Yeah, we've all noticed how if you leave something in the sun forever, it fades...well I didn't put two & two together on this one, but I guess it's true! If you have a stubborn stain on the pretty, white cotton all you have to do is hang it out to get a suntan.
-Cloth diapers are very user friendly. I thought I would be so confused and go through a horrible learning curve, but there are so many neat diapers made now, that make it so easy to use (they actually kind of look like disposables). I'm sure we'll get the hang of it quickly.
- Babies get fewer rashes when using cloth. This surprised me! I read that a lot of moms that had little ones with persistent rashes switched to cloth and Voila! the rash disappeared. I guess it makes sense. Disposables are made with all synthetic, highly processed material that some babies are extremely sensitive to them. So as soon as the soft, natural fabric touches their tooshies all is well. And you don't always have to use diaper cream! This is gonna be a good way to save some mula! They recommend to not use it because it can build up on the material and reduce absorbency. And you don't need to use it because the diapers absorb so well and baby's skin is actually not wet. They do sell cloth diaper compatible creams for the rare time a rash develops, so it's not all or nothing!
- It's easy to cloth diaper at night. This I am a bit worried about. I don't want her to leak and get cold and wake up! We do anything to get sleep around here! But if you use the proper liner at night to maximize absorbency you can actually get a drier feeling diaper than some disposables!
- You can save money even when buying cloth diapers. This I kind of deduced from everything I read. The high-end diapers are called All-in Ones (AIOs), meaning they have the plastic outer layer, plus the inner absorbent layer...making it easy to use. There are also Pocket Diapers which are like AIOs but have a special pocket you can stuff with extra liners for a more thirsty diaper. But if you buy some prefolds (these are the ones that are a big rectangle and you fold them onto the baby) with some inexpensive diaper covers you can use those during the day and at home and save the other ones for night time or for when going out.
-You do have to change frequently for best results. I guess it's the same as a disposable, you don't want your baby to be uncomfortable. For nighttime it's recommended that you put it a hemp liner (the thirstiest of them all!) in addition to the regular diaper liner. One lady told me she doesn't change her little one all night and he wakes up with no leaks and his skin actually feels dry. Way to go hemp! Plus, hemp has antibacterial properties (must be that it doesn't let bacteria grow) which helps with smells, rashes and other icky stuff.
- To go all the way you can use cloth wipes too. You can even keep them warm in your wipes warmer with a bit of mild soap! I was actually shocked by this! Another use for the good old Lion Heart!!!? No way!!! So, I am going to cut up some of Maddie's never-ending supply of receiving blankets and use those. Little cubes of soap can be put in with some water in the wipes warmer for a fresh, sweet wipe!
Well, I'm sure I've got more, but for now those are the most important pointers I learned.
We ended up buying a 12 pack of FuzziBunz and a few fitted cotton diapers with some Bummis covers from this store. If we really like the FuzziBunz we may get more later on. But for now I plan to use the cotton ones with the cover at home and that way I will have more than enough to get by and get away with doing laundry every 2-3 days!
I sure hope all of the above is true. And if anyone out there reading this has some "must-knows", please share! I will post once I receive them and take the final plunge on this adventure! I'm sure I will wait with baited breath as we pass our first day and night in cloth!
P.S. I owe the clever title to my hubby...as I was completing the transaction on our order, he said "We will now have a baby of the cloth"...I cracked up...and told him I would remember that one for later.