t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.

1.21.2009

Cloth Diapering: Everything You Wanted to Know

Above you see some essentials, a baby with a really cute bum, diapers, spray bottles, wipes and a wet bag.

You can read a million different opinions on cloth diapering. Is it better or worse for the environment? Pockets, folds or All-in-Ones... I won't try to go through all of these. I will only give you my recommendations based on cloth diapering for the last 3 years with 2 different children.

Sidenote...Don't try to cloth diaper for the first 4 weeks. Just my personal opinion. Having a newborn baby and a beat up and cut up (in my case) body is enough to worry about. But by 4 weeks I find my babies stop pooping after every feeding and I am feeling ready to tackle life again...kind of.

What you Need:

Diapers (about $50-$250)
Start with 3-6 diapers. This is a good amount to test the waters to see if cloth diapering is right for you. I use pocket diapers. I like the flexibilty in absorbency. At night I stuff in 2 inserts to keep Emmett dry. I find the covers stay perfectly stain free. After trying a bunch of brands, I think the very best are Bum Genius and Haute Pockets.

My preference is based on functionality, longevity, quality, and cuteness. I do not recommend any of the other brands I have tried. I really dislike snaps. (After Callista I had to put new elastic in the legs of my diapers, but they work perfectly with that small mend.) I now have about 16 diapers and at least 50 inserts. This is plenty with laundering every 1-3 days.

Wet Bags (about $25)
I recommend two. A small wet bag to put in your diaper bag or purse, for changing on the go. Then a large bag to store diapers in. I use wahmies but I have seen some fun new brands out since I bought mine 3 years ago. Look for your bag to have a hemp or terry cloth swatch to put essential oils on. This masks the odor.

To store in my wet bag, I remove the insert, then shake soiled diapers into the toilet, and swirl if necessary. Sometimes I am lazy and just throw the diapers in rolled up. Honestly it works too. But you can't leave them more than a couple days.

This is my big wet bag I keep in my laundry room next to the toilet and washer.

Spray Bottles
(about $3-$10)
I recommend 3 spray bottles for diaper changing. I just bought mine at the groccery store. I have one 4 oz bottle for my diaper bag or purse and two 12 oz bottles for my two diaper changing locations in my house. My favorite solution: Fill with warm water and add 3 drops lavendar, and 5 drops tea tree or chamomile oil.

Flannel Wipes (about $5-$20)
You can make your own by just buying flannel and surging the edges or buy them already made. I bought the most basic. I have about 50. Which works great, except when my girls snitch them to use as their dolls "baby blankets" and other random uses. Callista is often found spraying one wet and smoothing her hair out. It is a good look for her, lol! I spray my babies bottoms, then wipe clean with the dry wipes. I just put the wipes inside the diaper to throw in the wet bag.

Detergents (about $25 for 6 month supply)
I use Charlies Soap, baking soda and vinegar. I love Charlies Soap Liquid detergent. It is biodegradable, all natural....and you only need a couple tablespoons. It lasts forever. I bought it when I started cloth diapering and now use it on all of our laundry. If I find my diapers are starting to smell I strip them.
Stripping Cloth Diapers

Wash once normally with soap

Wash with 1/2 c vinegar
Wash with 1/2 c baking soda

Wash in plain water, until there are no bubbles when the water is agitated during wash cycle.


Always be sure to run your diapers through a cold water rinse before you wash them normally. Follow with washing on hot. And always use an extra rinse. Never use bleach or harsh grocery store detergents. Charlies Soap is available online and is affordable. I order 2 gallons at a time. I haven't tried the powder. I may though.

My detergents and essential oil neatly tucked away in my new laundry room cabinet!

Essential Oils
(about $10-$30)
Lavender, tea tree, and chamomile are my favorites. They have antibacterial and healing properties. I use a few drops (I always change up the combination) in the final rinse cycle when I wash, in my wet bags, and in my wipee solution.

Wipee Solution
Water
3 drops lavender oil
3 drops chamomile or tea tree oil

Combine all in a spray bottle and keep with your diapering essentials.


*Note...Always wash your diapers with as much water as your machine allows. I have heard it is very difficult to cloth diaper with front loaders which are so popular now. Unless your machine has an adjustable water level you may not be able to get your diapers clean.

**Another Note...Hang your diapers to dry on a line in the sun whenever you can. The UV light act as a sterilizer and stain bleacher! And plus they look oh so cute hanging up.

These are the basics. It definitely requires an initial investment. But the majority of these costs are one time occurrences. I buy all of my cloth diapering essentials at Nickis Diapers. I like her site, it easy to navigate and the prices are competitive.

I have never paid extra for organic, hemp, or fancy inserts. The cotton inserts that come with the diapers have always been sufficient.

There are lots of other nifty doo dads, but these essentials have gotten me by. I do think I am going to invest $45 for a diaper sprayer. They look really neat.

5 comments:

meddyjo said...

You are truly amazing, Rebecca! I am so impressed with the measures you go through to keep our planet green. I need to send my kiddos over to your house for detox! What do you do when you travel?

Rebecca said...

Miss Jackie, I love your incognitos. So safe and responsible! Not necessarily to keep the planet green but to keep my babies chemical free. I panic infinitely about my family than the planet. But protecting the enviro is always a good thing too. When we travel I use disposable. I am not that hardcore!

Jill said...

Becca, I used cloth on all of my kids. I used the old squares of flannel that you had to fold. I didn't discover diaper covers until KeiLani. The cloth diapers they have now are amazing. It is nice to know that someone else finds it a good thing to do. I am afraid that my reasoning wasn't for the planet. It was for my childrens bottoms and my budget. I loved cloth diapers.

Jessica said...

Hi Rebecca!

Where do you get your oils from? Thanks!

Jess

Rebecca said...

I buy my oils either online from Nickis or from my local health food store The Good Earth.