Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cloth Diapering 103

Once you've decided which system types you want to try, there are other things to consider: one size or sized, and aplix or snaps.

One size
-one size from birth to potty training, although most babies don't fit until 10 lbs. Until then, NB size diapers, prefolds, or disposables can be used.
-Can be bulky for the first few months. Many people don't think about this. It's designed to fit a toddler also, so it will look huge one your 4 week old!
-No need to buy diapers for your baby again.
-However, these get a lot of wear and tear with one child, so they may need to be replaced by the time child #2 rolls around
-Much trimmer than OS
-You have to buy larger sizes as your babies grow, which can add up
-But, they don't get as much wear and tear, so they'll likely last through more children, especially if you care for them properly.

-more difficult for a toddler to get undone
-Harder to get a snug fit, especially in the early months
-Lasts longer than aplix
Aplix/hook & loop/ velcro
-Easier to get a snug fit
-Toddlers can easily remove
-often needs to be repaired as it wears out quickly
-diaper chains can occur during the washing/drying process

Cloth Diapering 102

So, you've learned all the cloth diaper terms and what else you might need. But there's more. Now that you know the differences, you might be thinking "well this sounds the best, why might someone want all these other ones?" there really are advantages to each kind, and you may find it easy to have a variety, depending on your situation.

-Simplicity. These are hands down the easiest ones to use. It's just like using a disposable. Very dad and sitter friendly.
-Very trim, especially if they are sized.
-Expensive, not just to purchase, but also in energy costs. They often take at least 2 dryer cycles to completely dry.
-If you line dry, they can take a full day to dry.
-A lot of daycares will only take AIOs. They aren't trying to be a pain in the butt. Sometimes it's the law, but even it's just their own policy, it's a sanitation thing.

-Adjustable absorbancy. Awesome if you don't want to buy separate diapers for 2 children, or for naps and night time. You can just add extra when you need it, but when you don't need it, they don't have to have that extra bulk.
-Although they cost about the same as AIOs in initial purchase, they have lower energy costs since they are 2 separate pieces. Much easier to line dry as well.
-Many daycares will take pockets. They won't take inserts out. They will treat it as an AIO and you will be responsible for taking it out. So you don't necessarily have to have AIOs for daycare.
-You can use a variety of inserts depending on your needs: cotton prefolds, hemp inserts, micorfiber, and microterry. Most come with microfiber, but you can mix and match however you need to.
-They require stuffing and unstuffing, which can take a bit of time. To make things easier, I stuff as I pull out of the dryer, rather than try to do it as I'm hurrying to get it on my son. And also so that anyone who may change him doesn't inadvertently put the wrong insert in.
-Initial cost is about the same as AIOs.

-More economical than AIOs or pockets
-Requires a separate cover
-Usually must buy bigger sizes as your child grows
-Many daycares will not use these

-The most economical option
-Can be folded a variety of ways, with or without pins/snappis
-Can be used in pockets for extra absorbency
-Easy and cheap to replace as needed
-Multiple uses after diapering days are over
-Ideal for the newborn days, and for potty training
-Requires a separate cover
-Infant can feel the wetness more, so may require more frequent changes
-Can be more difficult to get a good fit on a wiggly baby
-Most daycares will not accept these
-Can be difficult to use if you've never used them before

-more expensive
-harder to clean
-needs cleaning less often
-leaks are almost unheard of
-easy to clean, just wipe out if damp
-quick drying when washed

-Combines a little bit of the best of every option
-Disposable option if needed
-Can reduce cost by using prefolds
-Reusable cover
-Trim inserts
-Disposables can increase costs and environmental impact (only some are flushable/biodegradeable)
-Can leak if inserts are not placed properly
-Can be bulky

I highly recommennd a diaper trial if you aren't sure. has a great one, it's only $10! And you don't need to stick to only one type. You may find that you prefer different types for different situations.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cloth Diapering 101

Lately I've had a lot of people asking about cloth diapers. I'm new to it myself, but I'm crazy when it comes to researching things, so while I'm certainly not an expert, I do feel that my solid month of research has given me a bit of information. It can be so hard to discover this information on your own, so I'll try to explain all the different terms as simply as I can.

There are a few different types of cloth diapers. It's not what your grandma used! Gone are the days of plastic pants and pinned cloth (although those are still available if you want). Today your options consist of all-in-ones (AIO's), pockets, fitted and prefolds with covers, and all-in-twos (AI2s, also called hybrids).
AIO's are the easiest to use, but most expensive. They are exactly like using a disposable, it's just one thick piece. They are waterproof, so no need for another cover. Because they are so thick, they usually take a while to dry (2 drying cycles, or hours on a clothesline). And they do come in one size, so you don't need to buy new sizes when your kid(s) outgrow them, you just use the same ones from birth to potty training, although sized (small, med, large) is more common. The advantage is that they are the easiest to use since you still just roll it up and toss it in the diaper pail, same as a disposable (it's just not hte trash). The drawback is that it is the most expensive option, and they take a long time to dry. Bumgenius is a popular brand, and they have both sized and one size AIOs.

Pockets look like AIO's, except they are 2 pieces, the diaper and the insert. The diaper has a pocket that the insert goes into, hence the name. These cost about the same as a AIO, but most people prefer these over AIO's because: 1, they are easier to find in one size options, 2, you can adjust the absorbency in them (which is a plus with more than one in diapers, or for naps and night time), and 3, they dry much faster since they are two pieces. Bumgenius is a very popular brand for one size pockets, as well as Fuzzi Bunz (who have both one size and sized options), Happy Heiny, and countless others. These are also waterproof, so there is not need for an extra cover. The disadvantage to these is that they are still pricey, since you must wash each diaper after use, so you need to buy a couple dozen.
Then there are fitted and prefold diapers, both of which you use a cover. Fitted diapers are cloth material in diaper shape, but it's not waterproof and you need different sizes for different kids. Prefolds are like old fashioned cloth diapers, with pins (although nowadays they have these plastic things called snappis so you don't poke your baby), but to make it simpler you can just fold it in thirds (called trifolding) and put that inside the cover. The advantages to both of these is that you only have to replace the inside part and can reuse the cover, unless it gets dirty or stinky. Prefolds are also really cheap, good quality ones are $2-$3 each. 24 prefolds and 4-6 covers and you're good to go! Covers can be made of a variety of materials. PUL and wool are the most popular options. PUL is a thin waterproof material that's similar to vinyl, but it's breathable. Wool is super absorbant and only needs to be washed about once a week unless poo gets on in. Just hang it to dry and it won't smell like pee. The only drawback to wool is that it must be handwashed and lanolized, so it's a little high maintenance.

Last are hybrids and AI2s. These are what I use mainly. They are hybrids because they have both cloth and disposable inserts. Also called AI2s, because they are cheaper like prefolds and covers, but have the absorbency of a pocket, because it's the same kind of insert. I love these because I can still use the same cover, I only have to take out the inside, and they work great. Typically, the insert is made of microfiber with fleece or suedecloth on top. You can also use prefolds instead of their inserts to make it cheaper. They are one size too.

Cloth diapering can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. There are countless accessories, but these are the things that I think you should use that will make your CD experience as pleasant as possible, without breaking the bank:
-Cloth Wipes: Chances are, you're considering CD to save money. So why would you buy wipes to throw away? You will already be washing a load of diapers, so there is absolutely no extra work involved. It can be done very cheaply by buying a couple dozen baby washcloths or cutting up some old receiving blankets. And it's awkard carrying poopy disposable wipes around, it's easier to just throw the wipes in with the diaper.
-Some sort of dirty diaper container: You don't need anything fancy. They make washable bags that you can hang from a doorknob or put in a trashcan, then on laundry day you just have to dump the bag in the washer along with the diapers. Or you can buy a cheap trashcan and rinse it out while your diapers are in the laundry. Easy peasy.
-CD safe soap: You don't want to use detergent that has enzymes, bleach, softeners, or any other additives. Rockin' Green and Charlie's Soap I hear are great for cloth diapers. Don't be shocked by the slightly higher price tag. Remember that 1) these are just for your CDs, so the rest of your laundry can still use whatever, so the cost is spread out over a few months, and 2) you only use about 1/2 the amount that you would use for a load of regular laundry. It says 100 loads? You can assume it will be more like 200. So it's not that bad really.
-Clothes Line and Clothes Pins: While not totally necessary, I highly recommend them. Instead of using your dryer to dry your diapers, dry them outside whenever possible. Not only will it result in less energy spent (yay money!), but it will extend the life of your diapers. Added bonus: the sun is a natural whitener, so don't worry about those stains!
-Sprayer: This is another one of the optional items that can make your life easier. They attach right to the toilet, so you can spray that poop right into the toilet where it belongs (it is ILLEGAL to throw away human waste... including the poo in your disposable diapers. Bet ya didn't know that!). This can help with preventing stains. It's not really necessary in the first few months if your baby is exclusively breast fed, but for babies who get formula or have started eating solids, it can make diaper cleaning a whole lot easier.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dear Army

Dear Army,
You can stop screwing my husband any day now. I'm really starting to hate you. Or please give us more money, to at least make all this stress a little more manageable.
No Love, A Pissed Off Spouse