Tuesday, January 11, 2011

10 Weeks Down - A Newbie's Cloth Diapering Review

Ten weeks down, and still going strong. I have to say, I am proud of myself! I never thought I would be able to do it. It did take a bit of adjusting, but now that I am in the routine, it's really is not a big deal.

Actually, I feel so good about it. I love the way the soft cloth feels on my new baby's bum. I love that she isn't peeing into chemicals and wrapped in plastic.

Even better, I have saved nearly 500 diapers from going into landfills*.

Yes, I know. I am using energy and water resources by washing the cloth diapers, but that to me, is a better option than the energy and resources it requires to make disposable ones, as well as the fact that disposables do not break down and will last in a landfill for 500 years!

As well, I would rather have my daughter's first touch experiences be touching something that is soft and comes from the earth. Enough said.

A Little Help
I have to admit, I have had a little help. The gods took pitty on me for having an extremely poopy first-born son, so they blessed me with a daughter who is low on the poop scale. For a while there she would go once every other day or two! Now it is about once a day. But having that wonderful window of no pooping really allowed me to get a handle on the cloth diapering, and not bail. Poo definitely is the worst part of the whole deal.

Secondly, the bio-disposable inserts are a god-send. I usually use them only at night now because they are more absorbent than the cloth inserts. But I have been known to use them when I am behind on laundry, sick, or just feeling like a need a break. They are more expensive, but the gods blessed me again with a big box arriving at my door from my friend Eileen who had extras to pass on!

Yes, the bio-digradible inserts are a bit of an environmental hogwash. Just like regular disposables, the inserts come from a non-sustainable crop - made from paper- and are bleached. You can flush the inserts, but that is also a lot of extra water.

The Surprises

1- Special detergent. I was a bit miffed that I had to buy new detergent just for my CDs. I could get away with some other more regular types, see full list, but I figured if I wanted my CDs to be really absorbent, I might as well splurg. A pack of Rock'in Green Classic Rock Cloth Diaper detergent cost me $15. However, 10 weeks down and I still have half or so left. Not bad.

2- Poo in my washer. Not so bad. The pre-rinse does wonders! My baby is exclusively breastfed, so the poops are just liquidy. If I won't be washing diapers that day, I rinse out the pooey dipe with our handy-dandy water hose that's connected to the toilet. Hmm, I wonder if I will be able to stand the poo problem once we get to the solid foods stages though. I distinctly remember raisins and half-digested food in my son's poo. (Must not think ahead of myself...blocking memories now)

3- A lot of Laundry? Nah, not really. An extra small load every other day or two is all. Hang dry over night. Fold and voila!

4 - I can live without wipes! Disposable wipes that is. I just use cloth, and wash them with the dipes. For poo, I wipe with cloth, then spray with a waterbottle/soap solution, and wipe again. Presto! So easy, cheap, and green! I can't believe the money I spent on disposables now, not to mention the chemicals.

Second-Hand Diapers!?
It may sound disgusting, but it's true. There is a whole market for second-hand cloth diapers. With sun-bleaching, and fancy-dancy detergents, the diapers come as good as new. And is a heck of a lot cheaper! If there was not a second-hand market for cloth diapers, it is safe to say, I would flat out not be doing it. It is too expensive up front.

All, but one, of my CDs are second hand. As mention in my previous post, I scored some new g-diapers for cheap at Once Upon a Child ($15 for four). Another two were given to me (after a few uses) from Contentedly Crunchy, and the rest I bought off of Diaper Swappers.

As for my one new luxurious cloth diaper, a dusty rose colored GroVia AIO, I have www.thegreennursery.com to thank for it. Check out my little darling baby featured with it on their website. I have to say I like it. It is soft, very absorbent, and the cover doesn't seem to dampen while in use.

Mostly I have been using G-diapers. They are classified as a "hybrid" in the cloth diapering world. As mentioned, you can either use cloth inserts with them, or a special disposable insert.

G-Review: The Good
  • Best feature -  you don't have to pitch the whole diaper in the wash. Many times I've been able to just switch out the insert and keep the cover going (as long as it is still dry). I have some all-in-ones, and it seems like such a waste to have to wash the whole darn thing after one little pee.
  • The fit is pretty good on my baby so the leaking is minimal.
  • Cloth or bio-degradable disposable insert options.
  • Not too bulky looking.
G-Review: The Bad
  • Worst Feature: the velcro. Ugh! The older the dipe is, the less sticky the velcro gets. Many times I've had the diaper come undone on some of my older G's.
  • Expensive to buy (luckily I got my all second-hand). And they come in small/medium/large so you have to keep buying as your baby grows.
  • Their covers and inserts are not organic.
Going Forward
With my 11 pound two-month old slowly getting bigger, I will soon have to abandon my stash of small g-diapers. I have to decide what to go to next. I am thinking I may try some prefolds, with waterproof wraps, that way I can just switch out the cloth insert and reuse the cover. I'd like to keep some "hybrids" for my lazy days or traveling times. And if I can help it, no velcro!

But, like a true cloth-diapering queen, I will probably have a little bit of that, and a little bit of this.

* If you figure newborns use about 7 dipers a day, then I have saved almost 500 diapers from going to landfill in the last 10 weeks!

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