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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cloth Diapering 101

"What do you do with the poop?"
This is probably the most common question I get when someone finds out that we use cloth diapers. The next question is probably "Do you have to touch the poop?" And I think to myself, "why would I touch poop?!" LOL!
Cloth diapering is something that was done exclusively by parents until the mid-20th century. So I'm not sure why so many people are appalled by this. My mother cloth diapered me (hi mom!), and I turned out fine (relatively speaking!). So I have decided to give the basics on this recent endeavour of mine (Mr. B is still grossed out by it...oy vey).
When I first entered the world of CD'ing, I was majorly confused. Mainly because all of the abbreviations that are used such as CD (cloth diaper), AIO (all in one), PF's (prefolds), NB (newborn) etc. I will explain all of these and more later. Anyhow, once I got past that I had to decide what type I wanted to use, as there are several types of dipes now adays (not just the basic diaper and rubber pants that your mom used!). And the only way to do this is by trial and error.
Here are the different types:
Prefolds- this is what your mom used. It's basically just a rectangle of layered cotton or hemp material. Note: it is not waterproof and you MUST use a cover, otherwise....eeew! Just sayin'
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Fitteds- basically a prefold with elastic sewn into the legs (to hold the poop, that you won't be touching, in). Some have Velcro or snap closures, and some you will need to pin or use a snappi ( a snapping closure that you buy separate). These are also NOT waterproof and will need a cover.
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Covers- These go over prefolds and fitteds and can be anywhere from the rubber pants I mentioned above (which you can get at walmart for a few bucks) or you can get some really cute ones that have Velcro or snap closures. And let's face it, part of CD'ing is buying the cute stuff!
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All in One's- (AIO) These are just what it sounds like. Everything rolled into one! They are waterproof and do not need a cover. There is also no need for an insert (to soak up the wet stuff), because it's already in there! The downside to these IMO is that they take longer to dry since you can't remove said soaker.
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All in Two's- (AI2) These are what I prefer! Just like an AIO, except the insert  is removable! Some inserts snap in and some Velcro. These tend to be more expensive though...
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Pockets- These are my next favorite, mostly because they are usually cheaper than AI2's and easier to find! These are also waterproof (so no cover needed) and have a pocket to hold the insert.
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I decided to try pockets first. I had no clue what brand to use (and will not endorse any in this post, if you would like to know which brands I prefer and use please email me at So I hit up eBay and found some for $3 a piece including shipping! Pretty good deal! So I ordered them and tried them on "Crazy C". What I didn't realize is that every baby is shaped differently and that Crazy  has virtually no waist and an extremely long rise from groin to bellybutton. The particular CD's that I ordered had snapping closures and they fit, but they would pull down in the front (if that makes sense). These have become my emergency dipes :) I keep them but only use them when I HAVE to. So I decided to try pockets with Velcro closures, these were a dream. And were only $5 on eBay!! They are my fave, especially for nighttime when I have to double stuff! Next I wanted to try AI2's, so I found a vendor on Facebook who had extremely cute fabric (write that down, cute fabric is VERY important!) so I ordered several from her. And since I now knew that I preferred Velcro closures that is what I ordered. I also have one snap closure from this vendor, and I love it too! It's all about the brands, just like with everything else!
So now that I had all of these diapers, it was time to use them! For my pockets and AI2's the only thing that you need to prep is the inserts, but for my prefolds (that I bought for my New Kid on the Block) you have to prep all of them. Prepping improves the absorbency of CD's. For prepping, I boil my new inserts and prefolds in a very large pot for about 20 minutes a couple of times and dry them on high heat. Voila! Ready to go! As for my covers and shells (AI2's), I wash them in one regular cycle and dry on high heat once to make sure the waterproof lining (PUL) is sealed where it was sewn together.
Once your dipes are prepped they are ready to be used!  And once they are .....used (no need to get graphic here LOL!) you need somewhere to keep the used ones until it's laundry day. I have a garbage can with  a swinging lid, and a mesh laundry bag from walmart that I use. Some prefer to buy a wet bag or diaper pail. But I'm cheap so I went with the most frugal option!
I have enough CD's in my stash to wash every other day (and no, the nursery does not stink! You can come to my house if you don't believe me!)
On said laundry day. I pull out the mesh laundry bag and haul it to the laundry room. Next, I use the soak cycle (cold water) on my washing machine (I have a top loader, so I have no advice for someone with a new fancy, smancy front loader!lol) to get any remaining debris off. Note: I promise I DO NOT touch the poop! When Crazy does a #2 I plop what I can into the potty and anything that remains will get taken care of in the soak cycle. Some people install a "diaper sprayer" onto their toilets, but so far I haven't had a need for that. Oh, and when NKOTB gets here (in 5 days, eek!!) he will be exclusively breastfed, and another perk to that is that BF poop is water soluble, so no dumping! Once solids are started or formula is introduced, you must dump.
After the soak cycle, I choose the longest wash cycle on my machine, which is the "white cycle". I use the hottest setting on this, to kill any bacteria. There are websites that will tell you which detergents to use yada, yada, but I have learned that I can use my favorite detergent (Dreft for babies). However, I use VERY little, like 1 1/2 tablespoons. Using too much can cause stink issues (still haven't figured that one out, but trust me!) After my hot wash, comes an extra cold rinse with 1/4 cup white vinegar to get rid of any build up caused from the detergent or any lingering smells.
When I first started, I dried all of my inserts and prefolds on high every time. But we started noticing a smell, not bad, but a smell. So I started line drying everything, like I already did to my shells and covers. And Voila! No smell! So there you go, that is my experience with the world of cloth diapering.
Just like with everything, it's not for everyone. But to me, all of the benefits FAR out weigh the negatives- the only one I've found being that you have to change dipes every 2-3 hours. It's a lot of trial and error, all around. Like, at first we had issues with compression leaks happening when Crazy would be in his car seat for a while, during nap time, and sitting at restaurants. But that was fixed by putting a pair of "rubber pants" over his CD. It's not the cutest thing in the world, but hey! no leaks!! Which makes Mr. B happy!!
Feel free to ask any questions, or if I have forgotten to include something PLEASE let me know!
*** Giveaway coming soon! Once I reach 25 followers or subscribers, I will be doing a review for Cow Patties Cloth diapers. And the owner has agreed to do a giveaway of  a one size AI2. Winner picks the outer fabric! So refer your family and friends!!! Even if you/they don't CD, it could be a gift for someone!!***


holcha said...

I have a fancy front loader :) Now that I cd I wish I did have the top loader! I use 3 maybe 4 cycles to wash! The first is with a hot water wash (no hot cycles on this washer!) and a bit of pinesol & baking soda, the second is with detergent numbers 3 and 4 are just hot washes and rinses to get left over residue out! As far as getting any odors out after the fact stripping helps! Take boiling water and a bit of dawn (not much just a few drops) and soak the diapers for about 3 hours then put in the washer for a few wash cycles :) Maybe I can show dh your blog and get my line put up outside for my dipes!!

Better Life Ministries News & Updates said...

In my day...our choice of cloth diapers were... white or white. There was the long triangle that you could fold (creatively) to fit baby. There was also a trianglular shaped white diaper...but I never could quite understand or adjust to this type. But my fave was the smaller rectangular shape that had a thicker multilayered section that ran down the middle of the diaper and they required only a slight design fold to fit most babies. The choices for rubber pants to cover the diapers were yellow, pink, green, or blue. And every diaper required a set of lovely and fashionable diaper pins!!!! We have come a long way from how things used to be.
Keep writing!
L. Brand

bboles said...

@Holcha I actually have a small foldable hanging rack that I set up in the nursery and they dry inside! You can get one for $9 at Walmart :) But my dh is supposed to be getting one set up outside for me in the spring!
@Sister B, that's what my mom told me! She was amazed when I showed her what they look like now! I'm so glad we don't have to use pins now, they scare me!
Thanks for posting ladies!!
Ms. B

Sheila Boles said...

I love this is good to know you and other young moms are diapering their babies like their grandmas diapered their babies!