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'
|Image from www.diaperetc.com|
|Image from www.diaperjunction.com|
|Image from www.verybaby.com|
|Image from www.snap-ez.com|
|Image from www.diaperware.com|
|Image from www.breastfeedingsymbol.org|
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!