A Simple, Comprehensive Guide to Using Cloth Diapers By Erin Odom Creator/Editor of TheHumbledHomemaker.com ClothDiaperConvert.com| facebook.com/HumbledHomemaker @Erinwrites |#ClothConvert All contents copyright © 2013 by Erin Odom All rights reserved. No part of this document or the related links may be reproduced or redistributed in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the author. Edited by Jessica Sibley of Word Well Editing Front Cover Design by Will Odom of Vida Creations Designs Interior Design and Formatting by Jami Balmet of Fount of Inspiration 2 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I dedicate this, my first solo-authored eBook to: My three little redheaded girls, who gave me the wonderful experience of diapering their cute little fluffy bums. My husband, Will, who listened to my endless discussions on cloth diapers, even late into the night. He thought I was crazy--until I decided to turn all my research into a book. And, most of all, to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who I believe gifts us each uniquely. Without Him, I’d be nothing. Glory to His name in everything-- even in changing diapers! 3 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Erin is a Jesus-loving, cloth diapering, natural birthing, real-food eating, breastfeeding natural wife and mama to three little redheaded girls. Several years ago, she was the recipient of a loan through the now-extinct Cloth Diaper Foundation. This was the only way her family was able to begin cloth diapering, and they were so grateful. Instead of building an entire stash of one diaper type, as many cloth diapering parents do, Erin had the unique opportunity to diaper her babies in an assortment of every diaper type until her family had the money to purchase their own stash. From flats to prefolds to pockets and all-in-ones, Erin has used it all! Erin spent hours and hours researching and troubleshooting because...she’s called the humbleD homemaker for a reason: She made every mistake in the book. But through doing that, Erin learned how to teach others how to avoid those same mistakes. She began inviting young moms to her home and introducing them to cloth diapers, and she began working as an online consultant for a cloth diapering store. Erin helped hundreds of customers choose the best diapers for them and how to overcome cloth diapering challenges. 4 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. More than anything, Erin is a follower of Jesus Christ, who has taught her so much through many of life’s humbling trials. She writes for her local newspaper and blogs about her far-from-perfect homemaking at The Humbled Homemaker. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 5 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Foreword Introduction Part 1: 10 Cloth Diaper Confessions Confession #1: There are Many Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers Confession #2: There is a Cloth Diaper Type for Everyone Confession #3: Anyone Can Use Cloth Diapers Section 1: Convincing Daddies Section 2: Convincing Other Caregivers Confession #4: Building a Cloth Diaper Stash is Easier Than You Think Section 1: Building a Cloth Diaper Stash Before Baby is Born Section 2: Building a Cloth Diaper Stash After Baby is Born Section 3: Building a Cloth Diaper Stash on a Budget Section 4: Using a Diaper Service Confession #5: Establishing a Cloth Diaper Routine Can Make or Break Your Experience: How to Prep, Gather Your Accessories, Wash, Strip and Get Over the Poop Confession #6: You Can Successfully Cloth Diaper from Newborn to Potty Training Section 1: Cloth Diapering a Newborn Section 2: Cloth Diapering a Toddler Section 3: Cloth Diapering an Older Child Section 4: Potty Training Section 5: Cloth Diapering Two or More Children at the Same Time Confession #7: You Can Cloth Diaper at Night Confession #8: You Can Overcome Any Cloth Diapering Challenge 6 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Challenge #1: Fit Challenge #2: Stink Challenge #3: Leaks Challenge #4: Rashes Challenge #5: Stains Challenge #6: Naked Toddlers Challenge #7: Nighttime Diapering Challenge #8: Yeast Challenge #9: Diaper Cream Cloth Diapering No-Nos Confession #9: You CAN Travel with Cloth Diapers--But You May Not Always Want To Section 1: Daytime Trips Section 2: Weekend Trips Section 3: Extended Vacations Section 4: Special Circumstances Section 5: Swim Diapers Confession #10: Cloth Diapering Can Be Addicting Section 1: The Cloth Diaper Addiction Section 2: When the Cloth Diapering Honeymoon Ends: Taking a Break-or Calling it Quits Part 2: The Heart and History Behind the Diapers Section Section Section Section Section 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: Using Your Cloth Diapers to Bless Others Cloth Diaper Advocacy History of Diapers Diapering Around the World Closing Remarks Resources Cloth Diaper Abbreviations Glossary Recommended Resources Chapter Index 7 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Sources Acknowledgements Disclaimer & Disclosure 8 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. An entire book? On cloth diapering? Could there possibly be so much to say on the topic? When I began using cloth diapers on my firstborn over eight years ago, I truthfully had no idea of the complexity that is cloth diapering today. I set out with a $100 budget to buy my entire stash and diaper pail, all the money that we could possibly spare at that time, feeling sure that I would nimbly step through the baby specialty store in my town, grab the appropriate items and leave feeling confident and prepared to deck my baby out in cloth. What I didn’t anticipate was that 1) there were more options than I could have dreamed of, 2) they were more expensive than I expected and 3) I was more clueless than I thought I would be. This isn’t our grandmas’ cloth diapering, ladies! Gone are the days of simple, bleached prefolds with clunky safety pins and squeaky vinyl Gerber covers. In the eight years since I entered the cloth diapering scene, it has quite literally exploded (no pun intended) with options. Do you want fleece, PUL or minky? Or how about 100 percent renewablysourced, moisture-wicking wool? Hot pink, lemon yellow, pistachio green or zebra print? Snaps or Velcro? One size or tiered sizing? Covers, pockets or 9 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. all-in-ones? Dry pail or wet pail? Soap nuts, Rockin' Green powder or makeyour-own liquid? All cloth or part-time sposies? What once was not only the only choice, but an easy one at that, has become an entire industry with its own jargon and enough options and opinions to keep your head spinning until your baby is old enough to do their own laundry (or clean the toilet, whichever you prefer-- this day will come, dear moms of little ones!). Unless, of course, you’re reading Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert by my dear friend Erin Odom, and you really should be grateful to have this valuable little book in your hands. If only someone had written this for me so many years ago, I wouldn’t have had to walk into (and back out of) that store dumbfounded and shell-shocked. I wouldn’t have wrecked my first set of covers by allowing an unsightly mold to develop on them. I wouldn’t have wasted my money on covers that didn’t fit my baby properly, leaving me with laundry piles and wet, stinky jeans. I wouldn’t have struggled so much with knowing how to treat yeast infections, sore rashes, and diapers that needed to be stripped. For that matter, I would have understood the term “stripping your diapers” and wouldn’t have been lost in the terminology. I would have made my peace with cloth diapers in public, at night, and with other caregivers far faster than I did. Regardless of my bumpy beginnings, I (like Erin) still found myself becoming a through-and-through cloth diaper convert, and, I even daresay, an addict. It thrills me to pad the sweet little tushes of my babies with adorably bold colored patterns. I rest easy knowing that no chemicals are touching their delicate skin. I feel deeply satisfied at keeping waste out of the landfill and doing my part to make ecological choices, and I know my husband truly 10 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. appreciates the thousands upon thousands of dollars I’ve saved us by using cloth on all four of our babes. The research has all been done for you. Every problem, every option, every question, every I'm-not-quite-sure-how-to situation is answered and expanded on. Erin has given naturally-minded mothers a gift in this thorough and utterly helpful handbook. With this book in hand, I leave you with a cloth diaper benediction: may your baby’s bottom be colorful and squishy, may your wallet retain its cash for purposes other than bodily functions, and may the cloth ever flap peacefully on your laundry line. Stephanie Langford Happy cloth diapering mom of four Creator/editor of Keeper of the Home -- Naturally inspired living for homemakers 11 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Why I Wrote This Book I never set out to use cloth diapers. In fact, it wasn’t until my oldest child was almost 2 1/2 that I even began to consider switching to cloth. I had the common misconceptions: They wouldn’t work. They’d take too much work. They’d smell worse than disposables. They’d leak. And the poop...who could forget that poop on cloth diapers is so much grosser. But when my second daughter came home from the hospital, she developed a rash almost immediately. I tried switching her to a different brand diaper and treating the rash with almost every type of diaper cream imaginable, but the rash simply wouldn’t go away--or even improve. I couldn’t imagine the pain my sweet baby was enduring, but nothing seemed to work. At the same time, it became increasingly obvious that our 2 year old was not close to potty training. I spent many days scrubbing the carpet where she had had accidents, and it was wearing on me. We were living on a very low income, and I couldn’t imagine how we could continue to buy disposable diapers for both our daughters. ● ● ● Well, let me tell you, poop is poop-no matter what type of diaper happens to catch it! ● ● ● A friend of mine who had also just had her second baby started talking to me about cloth diapers. Her mother convinced her to try them, and she discovered they really were as easy to use as disposables. She introduced me to the world of modern cloth diapers--diapers that look and work just like disposables--no pins or folding required! 12 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I was intrigued, and I asked her to show a diaper to my husband. He, too, was amazed at how simple she made using these diapers look. And a miracle happened: he agreed that we could try them! My husband and I quickly learned that the cloth diapering stereotypes are myths. Cloth diapers are no harder to use, work just as well or--might I suggest--better than their disposable counterparts, and, although it would be nice, poop is gross no matter what. When we saw how easy these diapers were to use and calculated the savings, making the full switch was a no-brainer. Soon after converting to cloth, cloth diapering became a passion. I spent hours researching the best methods of cloth diapering, educating friends on the benefits of using cloth and even organizing several diaper parties to teach newbies the ropes. I began working for a local cloth diapering store. I helped customers troubleshoot issues and make decisions about the best types of cloth diapers for their families. I hated seeing other parents become frustrated and want to give up cloth. It’s not like I hadn’t been there....I had. As you will see in the pages of this book, there were times that I just wanted to throw my hands in the air and give up altogether. How This Book Can Help You When I started cloth, I knew that if I were going to invest in a stash of modern cloth diapers, I wanted to do my research and get diapers that were going to last. I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my diapers. But, really? I ended up making just about every mistake in the book. When I received my first diaper in the mail, I had no clue how to wash it. I used a diaper rash cream on my diapers that was not cloth diaper safe. And I almost quit using cloth diapers when I realized I had to do a special disinfecting wash to rid them of yeast after my baby had an infection. 13 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Through many, many frustrating days, I persevered. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● I made every mistake in the book…so you wouldn’t have to. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● And I’m here to save you from that same frustration. I’ve spent hours researching the sea of cloth diapering information available today, so you won’t have to waste precious time with your babies while you’re trying to maneuver the ropes of cloth. In this book, I’ll take you through 10 cloth diaper “confessions.” Through them, you’ll learn: The Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers A Detailed Breakdown of the Many Different Types of Cloth Diapers How Anyone Can Use Cloth Diapers How to Build a Cloth Diaper Stash How to Establish a Cloth Diapering Routine How to Cloth Diaper from Newborn to Potty Training How to Cloth Diaper at Night How to Overcome Cloth Diapering Challenges How to Travel with Cloth Diapers How Cloth Diapering Can Become Addicting and more! Along with this, I’ve also included an abbreviation key as well as a glossary and chapter index in a resources section at the end of the book. Although I refrain from using the abbreviations in this book for the benefits of those brand new to the world of cloth diapering, I realize that you will encounter these terms all over the web, and I don’t want to leave you without them! I do highly encourage you to go ahead and preview the glossary, as all of these terms will come up in the book. 14 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. In the second part of this book, you will discover many ways in which you can bless others with your diapers after your children grow out of them or potty train. You will also learn about ways to advocate for cloth diapering and even a little bit of the history behind diapering in general. How To Read This Book I’m assuming that if you’ve purchased this book you already have an interest in cloth diapers and don’t really need to be convinced of using them. This is not a cloth diapering “bible”; it’s a manual--a simple, comprehensive guide to get you started and make sure your cloth diapering experience is successful. I’ve written this book to help you troubleshoot any cloth diapering challenge--and, if you read this book before you even get started, you may eliminate any challenges altogether. This book is designed in such a way that you can flip through to the specific section you need to read. Therefore, you may encounter some repeated information, but that is on purpose for thoroughness. To best take advantage of this, I encourage you to check out the table of contents before you begin and reference the index in the back of the book frequently. These were built with your convenience in mind. How To Use an eBook An eBook is designed to be read on your computer, phone or to be printed out. You can print the entire book or print specific sections and staple the pages together or place them in a 3-ring binder. You could even take the book on a jump drive to an office supply store and get it bound. I have included photos throughout this book. To reduce printing costs, I suggest highlighting the text that you want printed and printing that section only. That way, the pictures will not print. 15 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Before printing the entire book, please note that it is over 200 pages long! If you have a Kindle on your phone or other mobile device, you can email the PDF version of the book to your device. To find your personal Kindle email address, check out this information page from Amazon: http://amzn.to/Riiirs You can also download a FREE Kindle app for your phone, mobile device or computer, which may make this book easier to read: http://amzn.to/aUZMHP Sharing this Book In a few words--please don’t share this book. I spent countless hours researching and writing this book. This was time away from my family. I have worked very hard to produce a book at a very low cost to you, so that you won’t have to spend all that time researching and troubleshooting. Plus, the tips you will learn in this book will help you ditch disposable diapers and keep from ruining your cloth diapers. That alone will save you money! As with any book, feel free to share various quotes or what you learn from it with your friends, but if they want the entire book, please suggest they purchase their own copies at clothdiaperconvert.com or thehumbledhomemaker.com. This entire publication is protected under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws, and all rights are reserved, including resale rights. You are not allowed to give or sell this book to anyone else without paying for it. If you have this content (digitally or in printed form) and didn’t pay for it, you are depriving me of royalties for my hard work. Any trademarks, service marks, product names or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if I use one of these terms. Copyright ©2013 Erin Odom. All rights reserved worldwide. 16 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diapering Saves You Money It’s true; using cloth will save you money. This is the primary reason my husband and I even considered using cloth diapers in the first place. But I’ll be honest: there may be some sticker shock if you are planning on using modern cloth diapers, like pocket diapers (which I mainly use) or all-in-ones. However, spending some money up front to build your stash will most definitely save you money in the long run, especially if you use your diapers on more than one child! I’m now using the same stash of diapers on my third child. My diapers paid for themselves long ago, and I’ve been saving money ever since by NOT having to buy diapers or even spend gas to run to the store to get them. A Cost Comparison The average cost of disposable diapers for two years is more than $1,400*! Some even estimate double this number! This cost is higher if your child potty trains later than age two. The cost will also be more if you choose to use premium-priced, environmentally-friendly diapers, such as Seventh Generation, Earth’s Best or Huggies Naturals brands. A cloth diaper stash can feasibly cost $300 or less and can be used for your next little one! Cloth diapers also have a very good resale value, so you can realistically get back much of the cost by selling your diapers after your child outgrows them or potty trains. 19 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Let’s look at a cost comparison of several diaper brands versus cloth diapers. Keep in mind that you can cloth diaper from newborn to potty training for around $300, and that number can be divided by two if you cloth diaper two children using the same diapers--or three if you cloth diaper a third with the same ones (as I am now doing!). Individual Cost of Disposable Diapers Cost Comparison Newborn Toddler Nighttime Premium Brand Name 0.28 0.37 0.42 Budget Brand 0.26 0.25 0.38 0.21 0.18 N/A Daily Cost of Disposable Diapers assumes newborn will average 12 diapers per day and toddlers will average 6 diapers per day Cost Comparison Newborn Toddler Nighttime Premium Brand Name 3.36 2.22 0.42 Budget Brand 3.12 1.50 0.38 2.52 1.08 N/A Monthly Cost of Disposable Diapers assumes newborn will average 12 diapers per day and toddlers will average 6 diapers per day Cost Comparison Newborn Toddler Nighttime Premium Brand Name 100.80 66.60 12.60 93.60 45.00 11.40 Budget Brand 75.60 32.40 N/A Two-Year Total Cost of Disposable Diapers assumes newborn will average 12 diapers per day and toddlers will average 6 diapers per day Cost Comparison assumes 3 months at newborn cost and 21 months at toddler cost Premium Brand Name 2,003.40 1,499.40 Budget Brand 907.20 Cost Comparison Chart created by Barry Myers of Stacy Makes Cents and From Debtor to Better 20 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. As the chart clearly shows, even with using a budget brand, you will still pay at the very least more than $900 on diapers, not even counting wipes. When I saw that I could cloth diaper for one third of that price, it became a no-brainer to convert to cloth. Nighttime diapers are not counted in the total cost of diapering. Most children continue to wear some type of diaper or trainers at night even after they daytime potty train. Fifteen percent of 5-year-old children in the United States are still not night trained, and some children still wet the bed to age 6 or beyond.1 Hence, the cost of nighttime diapering will be much higher. *The prices in the table are based on prices listed on Amazon.com in February 2013. Amazon.com sells diapers at a considerably lower price than other retailers, so keep in mind that getting diapers at a brick-and-mortar store will most likely result in an even larger gap between the cost of disposable and cloth diapers. Using coupons may make the price per diaper lower, but coupons are not always available. This cost comparison does not take into account the price of gas to get to the store or shipping when ordering diapers online. The newborn price is based on the use of 12 diapers per day for 3 months. The toddler price is based on the use of six diapers per day for 21 months. This cost comparison is based on the average price of modern cloth diapers ($15 per diaper). It does not take into account buying diapers used, nor does it consider using more traditional cloth diapers, such as flats or prefolds. Purchasing used or using the cheaper cloth diaper types will result in even more savings. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● The previous chart gives a very conservative estimate on the cost comparison of using disposable versus cloth diapers. However, the evidence is clear that using cloth diapers can save you a lot of money, and they probably save much more than the chart shows. Again, keep in mind that the total cost of purchasing cloth diapers will be divided in half if you use your diapers on two children, in thirds if you use the same stash on three (as I am now doing), and so on. And if you resell your diapers, the savings is even more maximized. For an even better estimate on how much money your family can save by using cloth diapers, fill out the cloth diaper cost calculator at http://diaperpin.com/calculator/calculator.asp. Or, view this chart: 21 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. http://www.diaperdecisions.com/pages/cost_of_cloth_diapers.php, which takes into consideration various cloth diaper types and the cost of energy it takes to launder them. But Won’t the Cost of Washing the Diapers Discount Any Savings? Water I must confess: I am blessed that our family currently lives in a community that shares a water bill. It is included in our homeowner’s association fees, and those fees are included in our monthly rent. Therefore, we do not have—and have never had as long as we’ve cloth diapered—a water bill. Those with well water will be in much the same scenario. For those in my situation, the savings of using cloth diapers is even greater! However, I know that only a small portion of the population lives without a water bill, and the cost of water is something to consider before you dive in to cloth diapering. The cost of water differs greatly from community to community. Consider your current monthly water bill. You will average two to three extra loads of laundry per week. Based on your estimations, will cloth diapering save you money even with an increased water bill? Seek out friends, neighbors, etc. in your community who use cloth diapers. Ask them how using cloth diapers has affected their water bills. Only you can determine whether or not the cost difference will make or break your decision to use cloth diapers. 22 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Energy Much like water, the cost of energy can vary greatly from household to household. If you are a mathematician, you may be able to determine the cost of energy or gas per load to run your washing machine. I, however, am not. Again, I would seek out other cloth diaper users in your community and ask how their use of cloth has affected their energy bills. Keep in mind that many cloth diapering mothers line dry their diapers. This is not a necessity, but it most definitely can save money in the long run (as can line drying the rest of your laundry!). Not only does line drying save you money, but the sun actually helps disinfect!2 Detergent Again, the cost of detergent can vary greatly. There are almost as many detergent brands on the market today as there are cloth diaper brands themselves. You need to use a cloth diaper-safe detergent (more about this in confession 5), but that does not mean you have to use a pricey detergent. Many factors will determine which detergent works best for you. I purchased several boxes of detergent from another cloth diapering mother off of Craigslist two years ago, and I am still using it. The price of detergent has cost me next to nothing. But doesn’t the cost of buying cloth diapering accessories add up? We will discuss cloth diapering accessories in more detail in confession 5, but I do not think the cost of cloth diapering accessories will add up to anywhere near the cost of using disposables--especially if you purchase wisely. And we must consider that disposable diapers also call for accessories, such as a diaper bag, wipes and wipes containers, diaper rash cream, and a diaper genie. 23 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diapers are Better for the Environment This one is really a no-brainer. In her 2003 “Disposable Nappies: A Case Study in Waste Prevention,” Ann Link estimated that it can take disposable diapers up to 500 years to dispose of themselves in a landfill. 3 Five hundred years! And the feces that stays in the diapers can be contaminated with viruses, bacteria and diseases that make their way back into our environment. So why would you or I care about an environmental affect that may never personally impact us--or even our immediate families? For me personally, the reason is two-fold: 1) First of all, even though we may never reap the consequences of poor environmental stewardship, our decedents will. My children and their children and their children’s children will live in a dirtier world unless our generation stops it. 2) I believe that God created the earth and wants us to take care of his creation. Cloth Diapers are Better for Your Baby’s Health Not only are disposable diapers bad for the environment, but they can potentially pose a risk to our children’s health. The effects may not be immediate, but no one is sure of the long-term consequences of prolonged exposure to the chemicals contained in today’s disposable diapers. 4 To read more about the potential health hazards of prolonged use of disposable diapers, read these diaper facts from The Real Diaper Association: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php. 24 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diapering Can Potentially Lead to Earlier Potty Training Some cloth diapering parents claim that their children potty trained faster than their peers. The theory is that babies do not like the wet feeling that cloth diapers produce compared to stay-dry disposable diapers. Of course, if you are using modern stay-dry cloth diapers, which we will discuss in confession 2, there may not be much of a difference. Does cloth diapering really lead to earlier potty training and, thus, maximize diaper savings even further? To be honest, I do not know. I have not had this experience. My oldest did not fully potty train until she was 4, and my 2 year old has still not potty trained. I think a lot of factors go into potty training, including the temperament of the child, the parents’ training philosophy, family dynamics, health of the child and more. Cloth diapers may factor slightly into this equation, but I would not cloth diaper just in the hopes that your child will be out of diapers sooner. Cloth Diapers Work Better I would have never dreamed in a million years that cloth diapers would work better than disposables. After all, who in their right mind would spend money on diapers that are subpar? But I’m here to tell you: Cloth diapers do work better! Now there are many, many cloth diaper types and brands on the market today. And not all of them are high quality. However, if you do your research and invest in a brand with good reviews (not necessarily pricey, but a tried and true brand), I think you will find that they work just as well and most likely better than their disposable counterparts. 25 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I didn’t “convert to cloth” until my oldest was 2 years old. Much of her infant clothing was ruined by “blowout” disposable diapers. My second may have had one or two “blowouts” with cloth. My laundry load may have increased a bit with adding in cloth diapers to the routine, but the extra loads of diapers have more than compensated with the fewer loads of baby clothes. Simply put, cloth contains the poop. Cloth Diapers are Typically Gentler on Baby’s Skin Disposable diapers contain chemicals and toxins that can lead to rashes on a sensitive baby’s skin. 4 I started considering cloth when my second baby would not heal from a persistent rash. I will say, though, that it is a myth that babies that are cloth diapered will never get diaper rashes. There are some babies who wear cloth diapers that don’t get rashes, but there are also babies who wear disposables that never get rashes. Many factors come into play here. See more about diaper rashes in confession 8. Cloth Diapers are Cute! This may sound silly, but it’s true! Cloth diapers today come in a wide array of colors, patterns and styles. In fact, the disposable diaper brands are picking up on parents’ new preference for cute diapers, as several companies have released versions that come in denim or with flowers or other designs. Why diaper your child in drab white when your baby girl can don pink flowers and your baby boy can sport blue airplanes? 26 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Why Did I Personally Choose to Use Cloth Diapers? It all came down to the money factor for my family. When it became apparent that we’d have two in diapers at the same time, I started researching, and I quickly became a cloth diaper convert. 7 Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers: 1. Saves Money 2. Cares for Creation 3. Protects Baby 4. Fosters Earlier Potty Training 5. Creates Less Mess (Cloth works better!) 6. Gentler on Baby’s Skin 7. They’re just plain cute! 27 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. There are nine basic types of cloth diapers. Yes--nine! Don’t worry; I’ve given you the basics of each diaper type in this chapter! Natural vs. Synthetic Diapers Before we can dive into the nine different types of cloth diapers, we must first distinguish between diapers made of natural and synthetic fibers. Just because a diaper is “cloth,” it doesn’t mean that the cloth is made with a natural fiber. Natural-fibered diapers are easier to clean, but synthetic-fibered diapers are typically more caregiver-friendly. Natural Fabrics Cotton, bamboo and hemp are typical natural fabrics used to make cloth diapers. Some diapers are made with a blend of these fabrics. Wool is a natural fabric used to make cloth diaper covers. These fabrics are typically more absorbent than synthetic fabrics, but they are not “staydry” fabrics, meaning that your child will feel wetness against the skin unless you use a stay-dry liner. This can be a good thing if you desire for your child to feel wetness in hopes of early potty training. Synthetic Fabrics There are many different synthetic fabrics used to make cloth diapers. These include: Microfiber Microfleece Suede Cloth PUL (polyurethane laminate) 29 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) Minky Velour Let’s explore each fabric in more detail. Microfiber: Microfiber is very absorbent and is often used as an insert for pocket diapers. It is very important to note that microfiber should never be used directly against your baby’s skin. It very likely will cause skin irritations or rashes if used this way. Microfiber insert 30 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Microfleece: Microfleece looks and feels very similar to any fleece. Do you have a soft fleece jacket? That same softness is what your baby experiences while wearing microfleece-lined diapers. Microfleece is not absorbent and is typically used as the inner liner of a pocket diaper. Microfleece allows your baby to remain dry because the urine soaks through it and absorbs into the insert below it. So even though your baby may have a wet diaper, his or her skin will stay dry! Microfleece inner 31 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Suede Cloth: There is nothing leather about suede cloth. That used to really confuse me when I first started researching cloth diapers! Suede cloth works the same as microfleece and is another popular fabric used as the inner lining of pocket diapers. Suede cloth is smoother than microfleece. Some parents note that microfleece is gentler on their babies’ skin than suede cloth but that poop seems to “slide off” of suede cloth better than it does with microfleece. Suede cloth is also a stay-dry material. Suede cloth pocket diaper PUL or TPU: Both PUL and TPU are waterproof materials used in the outer shells of all-in-one, all-in-two and pocket diapers as well as in many cloth diaper covers. Some babies may be sensitive to PUL and TPU since they are not as breathable as a natural fabric, like wool. Both can potentially delaminate if exposed to extremely hot temperatures. In this case, the diapers would become useless--and thus ruined. I almost always air dry my covers and shells made of PUL or TPU. 32 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Minky: Minky is a very soft, fleece-like fabric sometimes used as the outside fabric of a modern cloth diaper--over the PUL or TPU as more of a decoration than anything else. one-size bamboo minky pocket diaper on largest setting Velour: This material can be both natural and synthetic. Some velours are made from a blend of cotton or bamboo. Others are made from polyester. Velour is sometimes used as the inside lining of a pocket diaper. Note: Most diapers--especially modern cloth diapers, such as all-in-ones, all-in-twos or pocket diapers--are a combination of several of these fabric types. For example, my favorite brand of diapers is Kawaii. The Kawaii Mom Label Minkies are a combination of bamboo, TPU and minky. Prepping Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics It is important to note that natural and synthetic fabrics must be prepped separately. To read more about prepping, see confession 5. 33 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. One-Sized vs. Sized Diapers Unlike disposable diapers, which are sized according to your baby’s weight, many cloth diaper brands will actually grow with your baby! These are called one-size diapers, and they are very economical, as you can potentially use the exact same diaper on a newborn and on a child who is ready to potty train. One-size diapers normally work with the use of adjustable hook and loop (like Velcro) or snap closures. one-size pocket on smallest setting One-size diapers help stretch your stash bucks, but they often don’t fit well until your baby is two to three months old. 34 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. one-size pocket on largest setting However, there are a few downfalls of one-size diapers. Most one-size diapers do not fit a baby under eight pounds (and the diaper may still be a little too big on an eight-pound baby). Some parents simply use disposable diapers or the most affordable prefold (or flat) diapers until a newborn is able to fit into a one-size diaper that will last him or her throughout baby and toddlerhood. For parents who desire a more accurate fit on their babies, nearly all brands make sized diapers. I personally chose to build the bulk of my stash with one-size diapers. Stay-dry vs. Not Some cloth diapers are “stay-dry,” meaning that, much like a disposable diaper, they allow the child to feel dry even while their diapers are wet. These diapers are made with synthetic fabrics like fleece or suede cloth. 35 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. These fabrics allow urine to flow through them and absorb into an insert-usually made of microfiber--underneath. stay-dry fleece liner Diapers made of natural fabrics are not stay dry, but the same stay-dry affect can be achieved in any diaper by using a stay-dry liner. There are several stay-dry liners on the market, but the most economical way to make a diaper stay dry is by placing a strip of fleece in the diaper, essentially making your own stay-dry liner. Most fabric stores sell fleece scraps. 36 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cover Types PUL cover Inside of PUL cover 37 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth diaper covers--to go on top of flat, prefold, contoured or fitted diapers--come in several different fabric types, including: PUL/TPU Fleece Wool A cloth diaper needs to be absorbent but not necessarily waterproof-unless it has a built-in cover (like an all-in-one does, which we will discuss later in this confession). A cover, however, must be made with a waterproof fabric. We have already discussed PUL/TPU in the section on synthetic fabrics. Let’s take a closer look at fleece and wool covers. Fleece The name says it all. A fleece cover is made of fleece. There are many work-at-home moms with Etsy shops that sell upcycled fleece diaper covers made out of old fleece jackets, pants, shirts, etc. Fleece is soft and comfortable and resistant to wetness, although most people find that they do not work as well as some other cover types for long time periods, like overnight. Fleece Cover 38 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Most fleece covers are pull ons (like disposable pull ups), meaning that they do not have hook and loop or snap closures, although some do. Fleece covers are often a very affordable option, especially if you buy upcycled fleece or even make your own. A mainstream popular brand is the Eco Fleece by Organic Caboose. Wool 31 Rubies one-size wool cover Some people claim that wool is a “bullet-proof” waterproof solution. Wool covers are made of just that--wool. Wool is highly absorbent and very breathable,1 and the lanolin used to enhance wool’s water resistance makes it both antibacterial and antifungal! 2 Contrary to the wool stereotype, wool diaper covers are also normally very soft. Wool is self-cleaning, 1so you can use the covers several times without washing them! 39 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Wool covers are usually pricier than other covers, but considering that you can use them several times without washing them and the fact that they work so well, the investment is usually well worth it. Like fleece, wool covers are often made to just pull on and don’t come with a closure. For this reason, most are sized--meaning you will have to buy more covers as your baby grows. However, 31 Rubies makes a one-size cover with a hook and loop closure. The hook and loop adjusts as your baby grows. It can potentially be the only wool cover you would ever need! I use and absolutely love this wool cover! Caring for Wool Diaper Covers Wool must be cared for differently than other fabrics. This article from Zany Zebra Designs gives an excellent tutorial for washing wool--and even includes a recipe for a homemade wool wash: http://www.zany-zebra.com/washing-wool-diaper-covers.shtml. 40 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Closures As you will read in the next section, flats, prefolds and contoured diapers are not made with any closures. These diapers must be secured with either a Snappi or a diaper pin. Snappis are T-shaped plastic fasteners that most cloth diapering parents prefer today because they are very easy to use and do not risk the baby getting stuck. Read more about Snappis in confession 5. Diaper pins look like big safety pins. They are the traditional cloth diaper fastener. Not many cloth diapering parents use these today. Modern cloth diapers--fitteds, pockets, sleeves, hybrids, all-in-twos, and all-in-ones--come with either a hook and loop or snap closure. Hook and loop is basically the same as Velcro. It is a very good choice for anyone apprehensive about using cloth diapers because it basically fastens the same way as a disposable diaper. Hook and loop diapers allow for the snuggest fit, and are, therefore, a good choice for the newborn stage. Hook and loop diapers are also less intimidating for caregivers. I usually use a hook and loop diaper when my girls will be in the church nursery. Another term for hook and loop is aplix. Snaps are more durable than a hook and loop. For this reason, I chose to build the majority of my stash with diapers that snap. Each brand will have a different number of snaps. I prefer to use snaps during the toddler stage because a diaper that is snapped is much harder to get off than a diaper fastened with a hook and loop. Cloth Diaper Types Type #1: Flats Flat diapers are the diapers that your grandma probably used. They are large squares of single-layered fabric that can be folded in a variety of ways. The fabric is usually made of cotton. 41 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Flats had declined in popularity due to the invention of modern cloth diapers that require no folding, but there has recently been a resurgence, in part thanks to the advocacy efforts of Kim Rosas of the blog Dirty Diaper Laundry. Kim holds a “Flats and Handwashing Challenge” each spring to bring awareness to this diapering method that even the most low-income parent can afford.3 I have personally only used flats on my third baby. They are really not as intimidating as they seem! They are also the cheapest diapers you will find! If push came to shove, you could even use a dish towel, receiving blanket or T-shirt as a flat diaper. You must use flats with a cover. Pros of Using Flat Diapers: 1) Flats are cheap. 2) Flats are easy to find. (You can usually get them at Target or Walmart, or you can make them yourself.) 3) Flats dry faster than other diapers because when they are unfolded they are very thin. 4) Flats work very well when folded properly. 5) Flats are not stay-dry, which would be ideal for parents wanting their child to feel wetness in hopes of early potty training. 6) Flats do not require extra prepping before using. You can wash them once, and they are ready for use. (See confession 5 for more on prepping cloth diapers.) 7) Flats can be used as cloth rags when your child is done with diapering. Cons of Using Flat Diapers: 1) Flats are not daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent-friendly. 2) Flats require some type of fastener (either a Snappi or a pin) and a cover. 3) Flats must be folded. They are not “ready to go” right off the line or out of the dryer. 42 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 4) Flats may need the extra absorbency of a doubler (extra layer of absorbency). 5) Flats are not stay-dry, which may be a con for parents who do not want their babies to feel any wetness. This can especially be an issue if the baby is prone to diaper rashes or yeast infections. Folds There are a number of ways you can fold a flat diaper. In the collage, I have demonstrated the diaper bag fold, which was created by a mother on DiaperSwappers.com. This is my favorite way to fold a flat diaper. Folding a Flat Diaper 43 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. This video tutorial from Dirty Diaper Laundry gives an excellent demonstration of how to fold a flat the origami way: http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/how-to-fold-a-flat-origami-style/. Here is another great tutorial with various ways you can fold flats: http://www.diaperware.com/picturepages/flatfolding.htm. Step-by-Step Process of Using a Flat Diaper: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) Fold diaper using preferred fold. Place diaper on baby. Fasten diaper with a Snappi or pin. Place cover around diaper. The cover will be fastened with either snaps or a hook and loop. When the baby soils the diaper, remove the cover and the diaper. Hang the cover to dry (unless it has been soiled with poop) and toss the flat in the diaper pail/wetbag after flushing away any poop. Diaper baby with a new flat diaper and cover. Where to Buy: Most cloth diaper stores have a section where they sell flats, and even Walmart and Target normally sell them. (Make sure the package of the diapers says “flat fold diapers.”) You can also just use upcycled cotton material that you have on hand in your house or even flour sack towels, making this the very cheapest diapering method. If you would like to make your own flat diapers, the dimensions should be anywhere from 27.5 inches x 27.5 inches to 29 inches x 29 inches. Some popular brands include: OsoCozy Swaddlebees 44 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Type #2: Prefolds Prefold diapers are rectangular pieces of cloth folded into three sections. The outside sections contain four layers of fabric and the middle contains either six or eight layers. The middle section is the most absorbent. Prefolds are usually made out of cotton, but there are also some made from bamboo or hemp. Prefolds can be folded around a baby and fastened with regular diaper pins or a Snappi, or they can be folded in a trifold and laid inside of a cover. You must always use a cover with prefolds. Prefolds are a great diaper for the newborn stage because they are cheap, do not take long to put on and take off and launder very easily (all characteristics you need in a diaper that will be changed up to 12 times per day for breastfed newborns!). It is important to note that prefolds come in different sizes. Green Mountain Diapers is a very reputable prefold brand. The threading used on their prefolds is color coded according to size: orange for newborn, yellow for small, white for a wide baby, red for medium, brown for large and green for extra large toddler. You can view these diapers on their website: http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/diapers.htm. Other brands come in just one thread color, and some brands just come in one size. One-size prefolds will probably be very bulky on newborns. I suggest going with a sized diaper instead. If you choose to use a different system, prefolds can still be used as extra inserts to add more absorbency. 45 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Folding a Prefold Diaper Before step two, you can also add the optional step of folding back the front for extra absorbency for boy babies who wet more in the front, or of folding up the back for girl babies who wet more in the back. See an example of this in the pictures below. Optional Fold 46 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Trifolded Prefold in a Wool Cover Bleached vs. Unbleached Prefolds Bleached Vs. Unbleached 47 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Bleached Prefolds Bleached prefold diapers are white because the cotton was bleached in the factory before the diapers were made. The bleaching process removes the natural cotton oils in the fibers. This makes the fabric slightly less durable and potentially releases some pollutants into the environment.4 Unbleached Prefolds Unbleached prefolds are preferred by many parents. They are softer and more durable than their bleached counterparts. Unbleached prefold cloth diapers retain the natural oils from the cotton. 4 Indian vs. Chinese Prefolds Prefolds are often referred to as either “Indian” or “Chinese.” Indian prefolds are usually softer but wear out quicker. Chinese prefolds are rougher but last longer. Pros of Using Prefold Diapers: 1) Prefolds are cheap. 2) Prefolds are easy to come by. (You can usually get them at Target or Wal-mart, although, in my experience, the Gerber brand diapers sold there are not very high quality.) 3) Prefolds work very well. 4) Prefolds are not stay-dry, which would be ideal for parents wanting their child to feel wetness in hopes of early potty training. 5) Prefolds are easy to use (contrary to popular belief!). Using them trifolded in a cover is an especially quick and easy way to use them because it doesn’t require a fastener! 6) Prefolds can be reused as inserts, doublers or even cloth rags when your child outgrows them. 48 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cons of Using Prefold Diapers: 1) Prefolds are not daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent-friendly. 2) Prefolds require some type of fastener (either a Snappi or a pin) unless you are trifolding them and lying them inside of a cover. They always require the use of a cover. 3) Prefolds are not stay-dry, which may be a con for parents who do not want their babies to feel any wetness. This can especially be an issue if the baby is prone to diaper rashes or yeast infections. Step-by-Step Process of Using a Prefold Diaper: 1) Fold diaper using preferred fold. 2) If using a regular prefold fold, place diaper around the baby and fasten with a pin or Snappi. If using a trifold fold, place trifolded diaper inside of a cover. 3) Place cover on top of diaper and fasten. 4) When the baby has soiled the diaper, remove the diaper and cover. 5) Hang the cover to dry and later reuse, and toss the soiled diaper in the diaper pail/wetbag after flushing away any poop. 6) Diaper baby with a new prefold diaper and cover. Where to Buy: Most cloth diaper stores have a section where they sell prefolds, and even Walmart and Target normally sell them. Popular Brands include: Green Mountain Diapers Econobums Babykicks 49 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Type #3: Contours Contoured diapers are a cross between prefolds and fitteds. They are already shaped, but they require pins or a Snappi for closure. They also require a cover. I used some contours when I had my loan from the Cloth Diaper Foundation. Contours are made from natural fibers, so they are not stay-dry. However, because they are normally made from cotton, bamboo or hemp, they are very absorbent. Pros of Using Contoured Diapers: 1) Contours require no folding. 2) Contours work very well. 3) Contours are easy to use. You simply place the diaper around the baby, fasten it and place a cover over it. 4) Contours are not stay-dry, which would be ideal for parents wanting their child to feel wetness in hopes of early potty training. 5) Contours can easily be converted to fitted diapers later if you decide you want your toddler to have a snap or hook and loop closure instead of a Snappi or pins. (Note: This requires some sewing ability or the financial ability to pay someone else to do it for you.) Cons of Using Contoured Diapers: 1) Contours are not daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent-friendly. 2) Contours require some type of fastener (either a Snappi or a pin) and a cover. 3) Contours are not stay-dry, which may be a con for parents who do not want their babies to feel any wetness. This can especially be an issue if the baby is prone to diaper rashes or yeast infections. 50 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Step-by-Step Process of Using a Contoured Diaper: 1) Place diaper around baby. 2) Fasten with a Snappi or pin. 3) Place cover around diaper and fasten. 4) When the baby has soiled the diaper, remove the diaper and cover. 5) Hang the cover to dry and later reuse, and toss the soiled diaper in the diaper pail/wetbag after flushing away any poop. 6) Diaper baby with a new contour diaper/cover. Inside of a Contour Diaper 51 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Folding a Contour Unfastened Contour 52 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Where to Buy: You can find contour diapers at most any cloth diapering store online. Popular Brands include: Kissaluvs Imse Vimse Type #4: Fitteds fitted diaper with hook and loop closure Fitted diapers are usually made of cotton, bamboo, hemp or fleece and are very absorbent--but not waterproof. You do not have to fold them yourself like with flats or prefolds, so they are ready-made to "fit" your baby's body. Fitteds come in snaps or with hook and loop closures. You must use a cover with a fitted, although they are absorbent enough that you can probably get by without using a cover around the house--but only for a short period of time. 53 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I have a few fitteds and really like the ease of washing them. They are ready to use right out of the dryer or off the line. Pros of Using Fitted Diapers: 1) Fitteds work very well. 2) Fitteds are not stay-dry, which would be ideal for parents wanting their child to feel wetness in hopes of early potty training. 3) Fitteds are easy to use. They can be used just like a disposable diaper, except that they require a cover. Cons of Using Fitted Diapers: 1) Fitteds are not as daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent-friendly as some other modern cloth diapers, but they are still more caregiver-friendly than flats, prefolds or contours. 2) Fitteds require the use of a cover. 3) Fitteds are not stay-dry, which may be a con for parents who do not want their babies to feel any wetness. This can especially be an issue if the baby is prone to diaper rashes or yeast infections. Step-by-Step Process of Using a Fitted Diaper: 1) Place diaper around baby and fasten. 2) Place cover around diaper and fasten. 3) When the baby has soiled the diaper, remove the diaper and cover. 4) Hang the cover to dry and later reuse, and toss the soiled diaper in the diaper pail/wetbag after flushing away any poop. 5) Diaper baby with a new diaper and cover. 54 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Fitted diaper made out of hemp-cotton blend Where to Buy: Fitteds are a very popular cloth diaper type and can be found at any online cloth diapering store. Popular brands include: Goodmamas Kissaluvs 55 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. So far, we have discussed diapers that require covers: flats, prefolds, contours and fitteds. Cloth diaper covers are what make natural-fibered diapers waterproof. Otherwise, these diapers, although highly absorbent, will still leak all over the place. Covers are either made of TPU, PUL, fleece or wool. You will need one cover for about every four to six diapers you have. Covers can be reused a few times by airing them out between changes unless there is poop on them. Type #5: Hybrids Hybrid diapers are a cross between disposable and cloth diapers. Often, they come with a washable outer cover, and you have the option of using a biodegradable disposable insert or a washable, cloth insert. The most widely-known hybrid diaper system brand is gDiaper. I tried gDiapers, but I found them pricey and didn’t care for them. To be honest, they were probably my least favorite type of diaper! This option might be best for someone who is just using cloth for the environmental factor. Otherwise, most of the other options are cheaper. However, you can also use a cloth insert inside the diapers. This makes them a little like all-in-twos, which you will read more about later in this confession. 56 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Hybrid Diaper Stuffed With a Prefold Pros of Using Hybrid Diapers: 1) Hybrids require no folding. 2) Hybrids are very similar to disposable diapers, making them very daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent-friendly. 3) Hybrids allow you to reuse the outer cover but ditch the messy/poopy insert. Cons of Using Hybrid Diapers: Hybrids can get expensive if you rely on the disposable inserts, making them no cheaper and possibly more expensive than disposable diapers. 57 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Step-by-Step Process of Using a Hybrid Diaper: 1) Place insert (whether disposable or cloth) inside of cover. 2) Place entire cover/insert combo on baby just as you would with a disposable diaper. 3) Fasten diaper. (Most hybrids come with snaps or hook and loop closures.) 4) When the baby has soiled the diaper, remove the insert and either flush (for a disposable insert) or toss the insert into the diaper pail/wetbag after flushing the poop. 5) Place a clean insert into the cover and re-fasten the diaper around the baby. 6) If the cover got soiled, toss it into the diaper pail/wetbag and use a clean cover. Where to Buy: Hybrid diapers can be purchased online at most cloth diapering stores or on Amazon.com. The most popular brand is the gDiaper. 58 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Type #6: Pockets pocket diaper on smallest setting Pocket diapers are what I mainly use--although I really like fitted diapers just as much. Pocket diapers are known as “modern” cloth diapers, and they are very caregiver friendly. They require no cover and come in either a snap or hook and loop closure. They are called pocket diapers because each diaper comes with a pocket that must be stuffed with an absorbent insert. Most pocket diapers are lined in either fleece or suede cloth. Both are stay-dry materials, meaning that your baby will still feel dry even when he/she is wet because the urine passes through the liner and absorbs into the insert that is inside the pocket. Inserts are either microfiber, cotton, bamboo or hemp. I like using fleece or suede cloth diapers during the day and bamboo diapers at night. 59 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Large Bamboo Pocket Diaper 60 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Inside of bamboo pocket Stuffed diaper 61 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Pros of Using Pocket Diapers: 1) Pockets are similar to disposable diapers, making them very daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent friendly. 2) Pockets don’t require covers. The cover is part of the diaper; everything is already sewn together. 3) Pockets can be stuffed with more than one insert for extra absorbency. 4) Pocket diapers are usually made with a stay-dry material on the inside, so your baby will feel minimal dampness against skin. 5) Pocket diapers made of natural fibers, such as cotton or bamboo, will allow your baby to feel wetness, which could possibly lead to earlier potty training. Cons of Using Pocket Diapers: 1) Pocket diapers can be pricier than some of the more traditional cloth diaper types, like flats or prefolds. 2) Pocket diapers require the extra step of stuffing the diaper after the inserts and shells are dried. You cannot just pull a diaper off the line or out of the dryer and use it immediately. Step-by-Step Process of Using a Pocket Diaper: 1) Stuff pocket of diaper with insert (s). 2) Place diaper around baby and fasten. 3) When the baby has soiled the diaper, remove the diaper. 4) Flush any poop down the toilet. 5) Remove the inserts from the diaper. If the diaper has a hook and loop fastener, fasten the hook tabs to the tabs on the upper back part of the diaper (see picture later in this section). This will keep the hook from fastening to other diapers in the washing machine or dryer. 62 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 6) Toss both diaper and insert into the diaper pail/wetbag. 7) Diaper baby with a new diaper. Microfleeced lined pocket diaper Stuffing a pocket diaper 63 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Securing hook and look on laundry tabs before laundering 64 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Where to Buy: Pocket diapers can be purchased online at most cloth diapering stores, on Amazon.com or even at Target. Popular brands include: Bum Genius Fuzzi Bunz Kawaii Type #7: Sleeves Double opening of a sleeve/pocket diaper Sleeve diapers are very, very similar to pockets*. The difference? They have two openings in the pocket--one on each end! The benefit is that you don’t have to unstuff the diaper when it is soiled. You simply toss the 65 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. whole thing into the wash, and the washing machine will agitate the insert out! Pros of Using Sleeve Diapers: 1) Sleeves are similar to disposable diapers, making them very daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent friendly. 2) Sleeves don’t require covers. The cover is part of the diaper; everything is already sewn together. 3) Sleeves can be stuffed with more than one insert for extra absorbency. 4) Sleeve diapers are usually made with a stay-dry material on the inside, so your baby will feel minimal dampness against the skin. 5) Sleeves do not have to be unstuffed, making them less messy to handle than a pocket diaper. Cons of Using Sleeve Diapers: 1) Sleeve diapers can be pricier than some of the more traditional cloth diaper types, like flats or prefolds. 2) Sleeve diapers require the extra step of stuffing the diaper after the inserts and shells are dried. You cannot just pull a diaper off the line or out of the dryer and use it immediately. Step-by-Step Process of Using a Sleeve Diaper: 1) Stuff sleeve of diaper with insert (s). 2) Place diaper around baby and fasten. 3) When the baby has soiled the diaper, remove the diaper. 4) If the diaper has a hook and loop fastener, fasten the tabs to the upper back part of the diaper (see picture in the section on pocket diapers). This will keep the hooks from fastening to other diapers in the washing machine or dryer. Do not take the insert out, but 66 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. toss the entire thing into the diaper pail/wet bag after flushing any poop down the toilet. 5) Diaper baby with a new diaper. *Sleeves are so similar to pockets that a lot of people just refer to this type as pockets. The only difference is the double opening to the pocket. Where to Buy: Sleeve diapers can be purchased online at most cloth diapering stores, on Amazon.com or even online at Target. The most popular brand is Thirsties. Type #8: All-in-Twos (AI2s) Stuffed all-in-two diaper All-in-twos are similar to pocket diapers except that instead of stuffing a pocket, you snap or place the insert or soaker inside the diaper. They are almost like an inside-out pocket, and they work like a trifolded prefold inside of a cover. I really like all-in-twos, but I only own a couple of them. 67 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. All in two insert 68 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Pros of Using AI2 Diapers: 1) AI2s are similar to disposable diapers, making them very daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent friendly. 2) AI2s don’t require covers. The cover is part of the diaper. Everything is already sewn together, and you just snap or place the insert or soaker inside the shell (which is essentially the cover/waterproof part of the diaper). 3) AI2s do not have to be unstuffed, making them less messy to handle than a pocket diaper. Cons of Using AI2 Diapers: 1) AI2 diapers can be pricier than some of the more traditional cloth diaper types, like flats or prefolds. 2) AI2 diapers require the extra step of snapping in or placing the insert or soaker into the shells before using. You cannot just pull a diaper off of the line or out of the dryer and use it immediately. Step-by-Step Process of Using an AI2 Diaper: 1) Snap or place insert/soaker inside of diaper shell. 2) Place diaper around baby and fasten. 3) When the baby has soiled the diaper, remove the diaper and flush any poop. 4) If the diaper has a hook and loop fastener, fasten the tabs to the upper back part of the diaper (see picture in the section on pocket diapers). This will keep the hook from fastening to other diapers in the washing machine or dryer. Toss the entire diaper into the diaper pail/wet bag.* 5) Diaper baby with a new diaper. *Some AI2s work the same as hybrids, and you can reuse the shell with a new insert/soaker. In this case, you would just throw the soiled insert into the diaper pail/wet bag and snap or place a clean insert/soaker into the shell. 69 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Where to Buy: AI2s can be purchased online at most cloth diapering stores. A very popular brand is the GroVia. Type #9: All-in-Ones (AIOs) All-in-ones are a premium type of cloth diaper and are usually pricier than the other types. The benefit is that there are absolutely no other steps. They require no covers or stuffing. They are all one piece--just like a disposable! This fact makes them especially popular with dads, grandparents and sitters! However, I tried a few all-in-ones, and they are not my favorites. They take a really long time to dry*, which is a huge disadvantage if you only have a small stash. Instead of saving energy and using my line, I’m more tempted to put my all-in-ones in the dryer to speed up their drying time. Even with using the dryer, they still take a long time to dry. 70 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Inside of AIO Pros of Using AIO Diapers: 1) AIOs are exactly like disposable diapers except they are reusable, making them very daddy/daycare/babysitter/grandparent friendly. 2) AIOs don’t require covers. The cover is essentially part of the diaper. Everything is already sewn together, including the insert. 3) AIOs do not have to be unstuffed, making them less messy to handle than a pocket diaper. 4) Some AIOs do contain pockets that can be stuffed for extra absorbency, but this feature is only if you want to or if your baby is a heavy wetter. 5) AIOs can be used as soon as they dry. There are no extra steps from clothesline/dryer to baby’s bum. 6) Some AIOs are made with stay-dry material, meaning your baby’s bum will remain dry. 71 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cons of Using AIO Diapers: 1) AIO diapers can be pricier than some of the more traditional cloth diaper types, like flats or prefolds. 2) AIO diapers typically take longer to dry than the other diaper types. Step-by-Step Process of Using an AIO Diaper: 1) Place diaper on baby just like you would a disposable diaper. 2) When the baby has soiled the diaper, remove the diaper and flush any poop. 3) If the diaper has a hook and loop fastener, fasten the tabs to the upper back part of the diaper (see picture in the section on pocket diapers). This will keep the hook from fastening to other diapers in the washing machine or dryer. Toss the entire diaper into the diaper pail/wet bag. 4) Diaper baby with a new diaper. Where to Buy: AIOs can be purchased online at most cloth diapering stores. Popular brands include Bum Genius and Blueberry. *I have heard that the Bum Genius Freetime diaper is an AIO that does not take as long to dry. I have not personally tried this diaper. 72 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 9 Cloth Diaper Types at a Glance Cheap Flats Prefolds Contours Fitteds Hybrids Pockets Sleeves All-in-twos All-in-ones Stay-Dry Caregiver Friendly Require a Cover x x x x x x x x x x x x ● ● ● ● ● ● ● x x x x ● ● ● ● ● For a newborn, you will need approximately 24 to 36 diapers if you want to wash every other day. After introducing solid foods, you should only need about 18 to 24 diapers total. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● #10: A Compromise: Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives Even the most hard-core cloth diapering parent will need to take a break from cloth every now and then. We’ll talk about why anyone would even need a respite from cloth diapering in confession 10, but, for now, let’s look at some cloth alternatives that are still safe for your baby and kind to creation. Compostable Diapers I had never heard of compostable diapers until a few years ago. Instead of reusing these diapers or throwing them away, you can actually compost them!5 Some diaper services will compost these diapers for you, so you don’t have to worry about handling the mess--or the ick factor. Read more about compostable diapers in this article: http://www.ivysdiaperservice.com/p-32-green-disposable.html. 73 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Environmentally-Friendly Disposable Diapers I have not done in-depth research and therefore do not endorse the following brands, as that is not the point of this book. However, these are the most widely-known “natural” disposable diapers. These may have fewer chemicals in them than other mainstream diapers: Seventh Generation Earth’s Best Huggies Naturals Keep in mind that these diapers will not save you money. They are, in fact, much pricier than other mainstream or store-brand disposable diapers. If your reason for using cloth diapers is to save money, you would be better off using a store brand during any breaks. Which diaper type do I prefer? I have been blessed with a large diaper stash comprised of almost every diaper type. However, the bulk of my stash is pocket diapers. It’s the type my husband and I agreed upon when we decided to cloth diaper, so it’s where we invested most of our diaper money. My favorite brand pocket diaper is Kawaii. My Kawaiis work just as well as the pricier brands in my stash, yet they are a fraction of the price. Although my stash is mainly comprised of pockets, I have to admit that I’ve fallen in love with fitteds. They are much easier to launder, and I love that they require no stuffing and are ready to use right off the line or out of the dryer. I especially love using fitteds with a wool cover. My least favorite diaper type is the hybrid, and I have never tried compostable diapers. When we take cloth diapering breaks, I forgo the pricey “natural” diaper brands and use whatever I can get the best deal on that will still work-normally Luvs or Target brand. I prefer natural-fibered and synthetic-fibered diapers for different occasions. I like that the synthetic-fibered diapers are stay-dry, meaning that the suede cloth and microfleece are designed in such a way that the 74 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. urine absorbs through them and into the inserts, wicking the moisture away from the skin so that my baby “stays dry.” I prefer using a natural-fibered diaper overnight. My Kawaii bamboos are my go-to overnight diaper. Sometimes I will pair the diaper with a staydry fleece liner, so I get the absorbency of the bamboo with the stay-dry feature of the fleece. 75 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. When I first mentioned to my husband that I wanted to use cloth diapers, he looked at me like I was crazy. “Absolutely not!” he said. He had a picture of the traditional prefolds fastened with safety pins. But when a friend of mine showed him her cloth diapers in our church nursery one Sunday, he realized that cloth diapers don’t have to fit the stereotype. I had recently become friends with another cloth diapering mama, so I asked her to come over and show both of us the ins and outs of cloth diapering. Once he saw how easy they would be to use and calculated the cost effectiveness, we gave cloth diapers a try. Now he touts the benefits to other parents! The first obstacle for many moms wanting to cloth diaper can be getting their husbands to realize that cloth diapering really isn’t that bad–and can actually be FUN! I recently surveyed some other mommies to find out what convinced their hubbies to give cloth a try. Check out their suggestions: 1. Show him how much money you’ll save. Print out the chart from confession 1 to show him how much money you can save. And remember: this chart is a very, very conservative estimate. Let the numbers speak for themselves, and that may be the only convincing your husband will ever need. 2. Show him how easy modern cloth diapers are. It’s true that many people still use and love traditional flats and prefolds, but modern cloth diapers, such as pockets and all-in-ones, are a viable option for daddies who want the easiest diaper possible. In fact, many daddies feel like these types of diapers are just as easy to use as disposables! 77 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. If you think about it, after you change the disposable diaper you have to make a trip to the garbage or diaper genie. With a cloth diaper, you make a trip to the toilet to flush the poop. Either way you have to get up and do something with your diaper. 3. Show him the research on the health benefits of cloth diapers. Baby skin is very sensitive and absorbent, and, simply put, the chemicals from disposable diapers get absorbed by their skin. Studies are inconclusive on the long-term affects of exposure to these chemicals, but why take a chance? 4. Show him how cute and comfy they are. Now, not all daddies really care what their little one is wearing, but some might! What dad would choose a scratchy paper diaper over a soft minky blue for their boy or warm pink fleece for their girl? You might just have a case here! 5. Show him that YOU will do the diaper changing (and washing). So, it’s ideal that dads pitch in, but sometimes it takes drastic measures to convince them to switch to cloth. If your husband is really, really hesitant, why not volunteer to take over diaper duty (including diaper laundry) during a trial period? Once he sees you doing it and how easy it is, he might be volunteering to help in no time! What convinced my hubby? The savings! However, since then, he also sees that cloth diapers are really just as easy to use as disposables. 78 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. A word from daddies who have been “converted”: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● "I am excited about cloth diapering because it garners me a huge cost savings with my diaper bills. Babies are very expensive, so cloth diapering is an effective way to reduce those costs. My twin boys go through an enormous amount of diapers per day, so it saves a us a LOT of money by using cloth diapers!" ~Jason Balmet, of A Biblical Marriage and husband to Jami of Young Wife’s Guide and author of Apartment Gardening ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “I thought cloth diapering was going to be one of those things Stacy would try and quickly abandon. Cloth diapers cost a lot more, have to be washed, and the thought of scraping poop? NOT FOR ME! Then, about six months in, I realized the investment (not expense) was/is totally worth it because we weren't buying diapers any more. Not only did we spend less money on diapers for our first baby and potty train her earlier than expected, we're now using the same diapers for our second baby. I’ve learned that some cloth diaper to be ‘green.’ We do it to save green! Cloth diapering is the only way to go.” ~Barry Myers, author of From Debtor to Better and husband of Stacy of Stacy Makes Cents and Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook And from my hubby: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “I was vehemently opposed to the idea of cloth diapering and all that it entailed, but after a trial run, I gained a new perspective on all it could do for our family. Everything from saving us money to protecting our children from chemicals convinced me that cloth diapering is the best choice for our family.” ~Will Odom ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 79 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. ● ● ● ● ● Convincing grandparents and childcare workers to use cloth diapers on your child may be a little trickier. As with your husband, you must take care to guard your relationships with these people, and, at the same time, certain childcare workers’ hands may be tied by the law. Many of the same methods of convincing daddies may help “convert” other caregivers to cloth. When my children are with caregivers, I try to always diaper them in an easy-to-use modern cloth diaper, such as a pocket diaper with a hook and loop fastener. These diapers work in the same way as disposables and are less intimidating than other cloth diaper types. This post is a little outdated, but the site owner took great care to compile many of the documents outlining state regulations of cloth diaper use in daycare centers. You can view the post and check out your state’s laws here: http://www.myblossombottom.com/pages/State-Regulationson-Cloth-Diaper-in-Child-Care-.html. If you cannot find your state’s laws via the blog post above, I recommend you visit your state’s government website and search childcare facility laws. 80 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I surveyed some childcare workers on their views of cloth diapers. Here is what they had to say: “I am a parent who cloth diapered and now have a small home childcare where I have a little one in cloth diapers. I have one in disposables, too, and, honestly, I’d rather have them in cloth.” ~Elizabeth Jette ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “I run a small daycare, and I cloth diaper. I have encouraged the parents to cloth diaper but none of them have started yet!” ~Brandi Brown ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “I’m a nanny, and the little girl I keep is cloth diapered, but my son is not. I have no problems with cloth diapering her. I’ll probably do it with my next baby.” ~Jamie Hildebrand ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “I am a foster mom who uses cloth diapers; it just makes sense since they can be used for years.” ~Wendy England ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● And regarding grandparents: “I cloth diaper, and my mom watches my daughter. I basically told her she has no choice. I do all the laundry for them.” ~Beth Hannah 81 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “I cloth diaper and whenever my mother-in-law watches the girls she has no problem using them, too. I had to give her a crash course in how-to’s, but she’s totally okay with it. I’ve had a couple times where the diaper got put on backwards in the nursery at church, but so far no one’s complained about me cloth diapering and them having to deal with it. I include a wet bag, and they just throw everything--wipes and all--in it, and I deal with it at home.” ~April Yates ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “I used cloth diapers with my children. I was amazed at how convenient cloth diapers are now and am so glad that Rebecca decided to use them with her children. They are really not that much more work than using throwaways. It takes a little more planning when traveling, but I think it is worth it. There is just something comforting about natural fibers going on your little one’s skin.” ~Sandi Greene, grandmother And here are some ways in which parents did the actual convincing: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “All I did was give crash courses in changing and say ‘treat it like a disposable.’ If there was poop, I said to leave it and I’d care for it. Once they saw how easy it was, no one even minded!” ~Allison Reyes ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “When I first met my sitter, I took the cloth diapers and showed her how easy they are to use. I never asked if it was okay, and she never had a problem with it. All she did was take them off, put them in a wet bag and send them home.” ~Leigh Blanton 82 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “There wasn’t ever a need for convincing. All my sitters have been willing to use my cloth diapers. It doesn’t mean they all liked it. I think it helps that I only sent pocket style and not prefolds, as prefolds with covers are a little confusing and harder to get the hang of.” ~Gloria Paul ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● If grandparents or other caregivers will not cloth diaper, you can always choose to just cloth diaper part time. Using cloth diapers while you are at home will still save you money--even if you do have to buy disposables for those times when your child is cared for by someone else. Daddies often prefer pocket or all-in-one diapers because they are most like disposables. 83 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Now comes the fun part! I will warn you, though: building a cloth diaper stash can become quite the addiction! No, truly--there are women who literally spend hours and hours checking out cloth diaper stores online and visiting forums where they trade around their stashes. But there’s a caveat: although building your cloth diaper stash can be fun, you don’t want to overdo it to the point where you actually spend more money on your cloth diapers than you would have on disposables! That’s defeating one of the reasons to use cloth diapers in the first place! 85 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Building a Cloth Diaper Stash Before Baby is Born If you know you want to cloth diaper before your baby is born, you have an advantage over parents who decide to make the switch later; you can request that friends and family gift you with cloth diapers at your baby showers! In fact, most online cloth diapering stores even allow you to register for them! A word of caution, though: A cloth diaper type or brand that may work well for your friend’s baby or even the baby of a blogger or cloth diaper book author (ahem) may not work well for your child. Each child is unique. Not only are there “long and lean” versus “short and plump,” but some babies are heavier wetters than others. And some parents simply prefer one type of diaper over another, and there is really no way of knowing what diaper will work best for your family until after your baby arrives. So am I suggesting you not request diapers on your registry? Not at all. There are two ways you can build your stash via gifts that will still allow you peace of mind that the diapers won’t go to waste if they don’t work for you later: 1) You can simply request gift cards/store credit. That way, you can purchase the diapers--perhaps one of each kind until you’ve found the one you absolutely love--and then build your stash from there. 2) You can register for a variety of diaper types and only prep and use the diapers one at a time. If the store allows you to return unused diapers, you can return the ones you did not use and use store credit to purchase more of the ones you like. Or, if you use all of them and then discover one type does not work for your child, you can resell them. Some stores buy back used diapers and resell them themselves. You can also resell diapers on such websites at diaperswappers.com or re-diaper.com for a good resale value. 86 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Keep in mind that many cloth diaper stores offer a trial package option. In this option, the store will send you a variety of diapers to try for a small, often refundable fee. You usually only pay for the diapers you end up keeping. If you do not think you will receive many diapers as gifts, you can always purchase one or two diapers yourself during each month of your pregnancy. This way, at the end of your pregnancy, you should have anywhere from nine to 18 diapers, and 18 diapers is almost an entire stash! But, again, you will be taking the risk that you will really love the diapers you are buying once your child is born. For this reason, you may want to vary the diapers and brands you purchase before your baby arrives. I would, in the very least, suggest asking other friends or other cloth diapering moms via cloth diapering forums what brands they recommend. Building a Cloth Diaper Stash After Baby is Born Although it may be tempting to quickly purchase an entire diaper stash the minute you decide to switch from disposables to cloth, I recommend trying several different diaper types until you’ve found the one that best works for your family and your baby. You can then sell the ones you don’t like and complete your cloth diaper stash. And, like I mentioned above, you can always check into a “try before you buy” program. 87 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Don’t buy your entire stash before your baby is born. You may discover you prefer one diaper type over another once you begin to use them. Building a Cloth Diaper Stash on a Budget Although they will save you money in the long run, cloth diapers do come with an up front cost--especially modern cloth diapers, like pockets, allin-ones and sleeve diapers. So how can you build a stash without breaking the bank? Well, there are several ways. And through it all, keep in mind that once your stash is built and you are using cloth diapers full or even part-time, they WILL save you money. 11 ways to build a modern cloth diaper stash-on the cheap: 1. If you are low income, apply for a cloth diaper loan through Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. In this post, I wrote extensively about how my family was blessed with a loan from The Cloth Diaper Foundation. Basically, this organization sent us 24 gently-used diapers to use on our two girls for as long as we needed or until our family had the chance to build a stash of our own. I found The Cloth Diaper Foundation through an online search because I was determined to use cloth diapers but knew my husband would only use modern cloth, and we couldn’t afford modern cloth at retail price (much less an entire stash all at once!). Sadly, the Cloth Diaper Foundation has now closed. However, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is a similar organization. Giving Diapers, Giving Hope started in early 2011 as another diaperlending organization for low-income families. Cloth diapering mom Kristen McCarthy began the program after losing her job and house and finding herself in a tough financial situation. “I started to think, what WOULD other people do if they were in a similar situation and DIDN’T cloth diaper? How would they diaper their children?” Kristen says on the Giving Diapers, Giving Hope website. 88 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. The program is open to anyone within the continental United States. Applicants must meet certain income requirements and pay for the shipping of the diapers. Recipients must return their diapers at the end of their loans. 2. Buy gently-used (or sometimes new!) cloth diapers. Craigslist, DiaperSwappers.com, Re-Diaper.com, your local Mommies Network and even Facebook buy/sell/trade groups are great places to purchase cloth diapers on the cheap! As a caution, be sure the person you are buying from has good references, and if meeting in person, be sure to meet them in a public place! I prefer to seek out local sellers, so I don’t have to add in shipping costs. Also check consignment stores and sales. I've found several diapers this way as well! If you decide to purchase used diapers that are damaged, I would not pay that much for them. If you have any sewing skills, you may be able to repair them yourself. There are also a variety of online services that offer cloth diaper repairs, especially on the elastic. These same businesses usually offer hook and loop to snap conversion if you decide that you would rather go with a snap closure. I have never used one of these, but I found Convert My Diapers on Diaperswappers.com: http://www.convertmydiapers.com/. 3. Enter cloth diaper giveaways. If you search the web, you can always find cloth diaper giveaways going on somewhere! Cloth diaper giveaways are extremely popular and it never hurts to try winning one. I added an Oh, Katy brand diaper to my stash this way! 4. Volunteer to be a "tester" for new diaper brands, styles, etc. Cloth diaper stores and companies need individuals to test out their new inventory from time to time to make sure their customers will be satisfied. If you follow your favorite stores or companies on Facebook or Twitter, you may see them giving a shout-out for testers. I acquired several diapers this way--a few free and a few for a fraction of the price I’d normally pay. 89 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. If you don’t use social media, you could always email the store or company and ask if they are looking for testers. It never hurts to ask! 5. Sign up for cloth diaper company seconds lists. Not all companies may offer this, but I know for a fact that Cotton Babies does. I signed up for their list and received emails when their secondquality diapers were going on sale. At the time, they sold these diapers for less than half price, and there was virtually nothing wrong with them that I could see! I think I had one out of five diapers that had a broken snap, and the rest may have had a smudge or something on them that easily came off in the wash. 6. Ask your favorite cloth diaper store if they need any online help--and if you can barter for diapers! For a time, I worked for a cloth diaper store. I did get paid, but I also got free diapers. Most online businesses desperately need HELP--especially in the social media realm! Do you have some online skills that you can trade for diapers? Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask! 7. Purchase an off brand. My first friend to introduce me to cloth diapers exclusively uses a popular name brand. For a stay-at-home mom on a moderately low income, the sticker shock was, um, alarming. I simply couldn’t fork out nearly $20 per diaper--even when I knew the money I spent up front would save me money later. So I started searching for an alternate brand. The only problem is that I wanted a brand with rave reviews. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my money on a cheap diaper that was cheaply made and didn’t work. I was so happy to find an off brand of diapers--which cost about half the price of name-brand diapers, yet they are very, very similar to them. 90 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 8. Watch out for sales! Holidays are a key time that cloth diaper stores will run specials. When I was actively building my stash, I always checked the Facebook pages of cloth diaper stores for coupon codes during these times. 9. Share diapers with a friend. Do you have diapers that your baby has outgrown that a friend could use and vice versa? If you hand down clothes, why not hand down diapers? You can switch back and forth with each new baby. 10. Make your own. I’ve tried to sew. Really, I have. (And my poor hubby bought me a nice machine for my 28th birthday four years ago...and it’s been gathering dust for about, oh, 3 1/2 years now!) Sewing simply does not come naturally to me. But for others, sewing is a piece of cake! Maybe that’s you. You can make a hobby out of sewing cloth diapers for yourself and maybe even for your friends! Here’s a cloth diaper tutorial from my friend Kate over at Modern Alternative Mama. Cotton Babies also has an excellent tutorial on making your own cloth diapers—even if you don’t know how to sew! 11. Participate in a local diaper lending program. Giving Diapers, Giving Hope operates on a national level, but many other communities offer smaller programs to local families in need. Sweet Cheeks Diaper Kits is a North Carolina non-profit that makes, collects and distributes cloth diapering supplies in their area. Each kit contains everything a parent needs to cloth diaper one child full-time, including a diaper pail, handmade T-shirt diapers, donated brand name diapers and covers, handmade wipes, a spray bottle, detergent, diaper cream, stay-dry liners AND on-going support! Volunteers from the community get together for a Diaper Derby each month, where they upcycle old T-shirts to make the fitted T-shirt diapers for the kits. 91 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Lastly, if you want to build a cloth diaper stash on the cheap, once your stash is built, stop looking. Seriously--if you continue to peruse the sales and don’t unsubscribe from the various store newsletters, you will be tempted to buy more. And if you buy more you’re defeating the purpose of saving money by using cloth--unless, of course, this is just your hobby and you’ve built “fun” money into your budget. In that case, browse away! Also remember: You don’t need every single cloth diapering accessory on the market. If you get the diapers, you can be creative with the rest. At a Glance: 10 Ways to Build Your Stash: 1. Gifts 2. Online Cloth Stores 3. Walmart/Target/Amazon 4. Craigslist/Facebook 5. Diaperswappers 6. Giveaways 7. Trade 8. Borrow 9. Barter 10. Make Your Own 92 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Using a Diaper Service Some cloth diapering parents chose not to purchase their own stash at all. Instead, they opt to use a traditional cloth diaper service. What is a diaper service? Basically, a diaper service maintains ownership of the diapers and rents them out to families. A major bonus of a diaper service is that they also launder the diapers. This makes cloth diapering very easy and especially more manageable for working moms who may not have time for the extra laundry that comes with cloth diapering. Most diapering services only offer prefold diapers, but it’s worth checking into whether or not you have a local diaper service that may also offer other cloth diaper types. To find a diaper service near you, check out this directory: http://diaperservice.realdiaperindustry.org/locate-a-diaper-service 93 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Prep Your Diapers If you’ve started building your stash, then you may already have little bundles of fluff (a slang term for cloth diapers) already arriving in the mail. And if you’re anything like me, you’re more than excited about ripping into your fluffy packages and getting your new diapers on your baby. When my very first package arrived, I tore into it . . . and then just sat there looking at the bright-green, flowered pocket diaper. The company I had ordered from hadn’t sent any instructions, so I felt stuck! What should I do?! Should I wash it first? And, if so, how should I wash it? The last thing I wanted to do was ruin my new cloth diaper before I even put it on my baby! Thankfully, a good friend was gracious enough to come over to my house and show me the ropes of cloth diapering. She explained that I needed to prep the diapers before using them. Prepping the diapers basically means washing them before using them. Prepping Synthetic-Fibered Diapers With synthetic-fibered diapers--like pocket diapers made out of fleece or suede-cloth with microfiber inserts--all you have to do is wash them once with a cloth diaper-safe detergent. (We’ll be talking about detergents and the wash routine later in this section.) You can begin using these diapers as soon as they are dry. You can even prep them with diapers you already own . . . or with your regular laundry. Prepping Natural-Fibered Diapers To prep diapers made of natural fibers--like cotton, bamboo or hemp-you will need to wash them SEPARATELY from your other diapers for two to three times before using them. You can simply toss them into the wash with your regular laundry as long as you use a cloth-safe detergent. You can dry in between washes, but it’s not necessary. 95 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. What’s the difference? Diapers made out of natural fibers contain oils that will rub off in the wash. These diapers actually end up being your most absorbent diapers--much more absorbent than synthetic fabrics like microfiber. However, the oils need to be washed away before they will reach their full absorbency. A Word of Caution You never want to prep your natural-fibered diapers with your other diapers or with new synthetic-fibered diapers because the oils that will rub away in the wash can rub onto your other diapers and make them lose absorbency. You can use your cotton, bamboo or hemp diapers after you prep them, but keep in mind that they do not reach their full absorbency until after about 10 washes. You can still use these diapers after two or three washes, but be aware that you may need to change your baby more frequently to prevent leaks. So, if you use a natural-fibered diaper after its initial prep and the diaper leaks or doesn’t seem to hold the same amount of urine as your synthetic-fibered diapers, do not get frustrated. It probably just means that your diapers have not yet reached their maximum absorbency. Gather Your Accessories You can successfully cloth diaper with very little extra supplies. However, there are a few things that make the job of a ● ● ● cloth diapering parent just a little easier. You can cloth These supplies include wipes, wipes solution, diaper with liners, inserts, doublers, diaper pails, very little wetbags, stain fighters, detergent, dryer balls, diaper sprayers, diaper bags, diaper accessories-creams, Snappis/pins and covers. but they do Let’s explore each cloth diapering accessory make things on its own: easier. ● ● ● 96 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Wipes Not all cloth diapering parents even use cloth wipes. Some continue to use disposable or even flushable wipes (which do come in handy with cloth!) with their cloth diapers. However, using cloth wipes can save money and help reduce waste. Most cloth diaper stores offer cloth wipes in a variety of fabrics--from terrycloth to bamboo to cotton. And a plethora of work-at-home moms sell homemade wipes from Etsy shops. But I personally choose to use baby washcloths as wipes. Baby washcloths are cheap, durable and thin enough to get inside those little cracks and crevices you want to be sure stay clean. And while I’ll sometimes go back and forth between these and disposable wipes, I actually prefer using reusable wipes with cloth diapers because instead of having to walk the soiled diaper to my wetbag and the dirty wipes to the trash can (and who wants a poopy wipe sitting on top of the 97 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. trash can?), I simply wrap the soiled wipe up inside the diaper, just as I would a disposable. So are cloth wipes necessary? In a word--no. But are they cheap and convenient? Yes, especially if you use baby wash cloths. Wipes Solution I have personally never used a baby wipe solution. There are some lovely-smelling solutions on the market today, but most are pricey, and I don’t want to fork out the big bucks for an item that I could easily substitute at home with homemade baby wash or even plain water. So how do I personally moisten my wipes (because, unlike their disposable counterparts, cloth wipes do not come pre-moistened!). My typical routine is to either: Pre-moisten with a baby wash solution. Fill a container with warm water. Squirt some baby wash into the container and either mix with a spoon or place a top on the container and shake the container vigorously. Place your clean, dried wipes in the container and drench with the solution. Ring out each wipe and store inside a small wetbag or in a plastic baby wipes container. Store the wetbag or wipes container in your diaper changing station or in your diaper bag. Alternately, you can store the wipes in a Ziploc bag. Moisten wipes with plain water. When I don’t want to take the time to make up a whole batch of premoistened wipes at once, I just wet the wipes with water from my sink right before I change my baby’s diaper. You can also keep a squirt bottle with plain water near your diaper changing station and use that to wet your wipes. If the bottom is very dirty, I can always squirt the wet wipe with a baby-safe soap. There are many homemade wipes solutions recipes available today. Check out this post for a few: http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-wipesolution.shtml. So is a wipes solution necessary? Absolutely not. Save your money and make your own--or just use water. 98 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Liners In the cloth diapering world, the word “liner” can refer to several different things. Primarily, liners will refer to stay-dry liners or disposable/flushable liners. Stay-Dry Liners: Stay-dry liners are typically made of fleece. Parents who desire the functionality of natural-fibered diapers (like cotton or bamboo) but want their child to not feel wetness can use these liners in between baby’s skin and the diaper to keep the baby dry. Several different brands sell stay-dry liners, but you can easily make your own with fleece fabric scraps. flushable Liner Disposable/Flushable Liners: There are several different disposable/flushable liners on the market today. These are typically very, very thin, and they serve to “catch the poop” and help eliminate messes. The idea is that the parent can easily scoop out the soiled liner and flush it. This alleviates the mess of a blowout diaper. I personally use and love Imse Vimse flushable liners. An added bonus of these is that they can be washed up to three to four times if the child does not poop on the liner. I feel like I get my money’s worth with these because they last so long. 99 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Make-Shift Liners: For whatever reason, a parent may need a liner in between the baby’s skin and the diaper. One reason may be during a yeast infection, when the yeast can spread to the diapers. In this case, the liner itself will be contaminated, so the parents can either disinfect those separately or just use a cheap enough liner that they can throw them out once the baby has soiled the diaper. Another instance where a parent may want to use a make-shift liner would be if the baby is using a non-cloth diaper safe rash cream. We will discuss this in more detail later in this chapter, but you absolutely do not want to get regular diaper cream on your cloth diapers because you can ruin them! A make-shift liner can really be any old piece of cloth, a rag, etc. I have even used a sock in a pinch. So are liners necessary? In a word--no. But they are very, very helpful. I am very frugal, but, to me, the flushable/washable liners are well worth my money. Make your own stay-dry liners and invest in the flushable ones if you purchase any liners at all. Inserts bamboo insert 100 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Microfiber Insert Whether or not you will need inserts depends on the type of diaper you are using. I primarily use pocket diapers, so inserts are a must for me. In pocket and sleeve diapers, inserts are the absorbent part of the diaper. Without the inserts, the diaper would not be a diaper. Urine passes through a sewn-in liner and absorbs into the insert. You can use The nice thing about pocket and sleeve diapers is that you can stuff with more than one insert to increase absorbency. Some all-in-ones also come with pockets to give parents the option of stuffing for added functionality as well. Inserts for pocket, sleeve or all-in-one diapers are usually made out of microfiber, bamboo or a cotton blend. Please note that microfiber should never go directly against your baby’s skin. Bamboo and cotton are more absorbent than microfiber, but microfiber is cheaper. baby wash cloths for wipes and fleece scraps for stay-dry liners. Save that money, Mama! All-in-twos and hybrid diapers also require inserts, but these inserts are made of a fabric that can go directly against the baby’s skin, as the inserts are not stuffed inside the diaper but, rather, lie on top of the diaper. Hybrid diapers, like gDiapers, can be used with both reusable an d disposable inserts. The disposable inserts are biodegradable and flushable. 101 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. So are inserts necessary? If you are using pocket, sleeve or all-in-two diapers, inserts are absolutely necessary. They are optional for all-inones. But don’t worry about this accessory too much. If you decide to go with a diaper type that requires inserts, they will most likely come with one or two inserts. It is up to you to decide if you want to purchase extras. And you can always use a trifolded prefold as an insert if you get in a bind. Another money saving tip here is to use any microfiber cleaning rag folded as an insert as well. Some suggest the bulk packs of auto cleaning rags from Sam’s or Costco. Doublers Doublers are thinner and less absorbent than inserts but thicker and more absorbent than liners. Whereas the job of a liner is primarily to help create a barrier in between the baby’s bum and the diaper itself, a doubler exists to add more absorbency. Why not just use an extra insert? Well, you can, but too many inserts will create too bulky of a diaper, which will hinder the diaper’s fit, especially around the legs. If the diaper does not fit correctly, it may leak. Fitted diaper with a doubler 102 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Most doublers are made out of natural fibers, such as bamboo. So are doublers necessary? No, they aren’t. I’ve cloth diapered several years without ever buying a doubler. You can always use extra inserts or prefolds as doublers without having to fork out extra cash, and using bamboo inserts, which are much, much thinner than microfiber, will eliminate the bulk. I triple stuff my bamboo pocket diapers with bamboo inserts at night, and they work just fine. Diaper Pails A diaper pail is where you store your dirty diapers until wash day. It can really be any trash can that is either lined with a washable wetbag-like liner or with no liner at all (as long as it can be thoroughly wiped down and cleaned when needed). I recommend using a diaper pail with a lid, so your children may be less tempted to climb inside and get covered in. . . poop. In previous generations, many cloth diapering parents used what is known as “wet pails.” These pails would already contain water, and the parents would soak the dirty diapers until wash day. Some cloth diapering parents today do still use wet pails, but the majority use dry pails. I would personally be leery of the safety of standing wet pails around children who could fall inside and drown. So are diaper pails necessary? No, they actually aren’t, although they may be preferable for people who have the space for them. I have never used a diaper pail. I use a large wetbag instead. Wetbags Wetbags are waterproof and usually smell-proof bags that allow you to store dirty diapers that won’t leak through onto your other belongings. They come in a variety of sizes. Small ones will usually store one diaper or cloth wipes. Medium wetbags will fit inside diaper bags and store several diapers. Large wetbags can hold enough diapers to last for a weekend trip. 103 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Inside of wetbag I actually use a large hanging wetbag instead of a diaper pail. I live in a small home with a closet-like laundry room, and we simply do not have the space for a diaper pail. I use a hanging wetbag on a hook on the back of the laundry room door, and it works perfectly. Most wetbags will also contain a small swatch of fabric on the inside, where you can dab some essential oils to help keep smells at bay. 104 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Fabric swatch on wetbag So are wetbags necessary? Well, I guess you could technically use Ziploc bags all the time, but that would get old and pretty gross. I would rank wetbags pretty high on the needs lists. I own several in each size, and I use them often. I absolutely love my hanging wetbag. It zips up, and I recommend that over a hanging wet pail with no zipper. I had one of those for my first year of cloth diapering, and let’s just say that the smell definitely wafted out of my laundry room, and my hubby wasn’t too pleased! Stain Fighters There are several stain fighters on the market today, and we will talk about them in more detail in confession 8. My personal recommendation is to not spend too much money here. Who else sees the diapers but you and your child? If your diapers are clean then why does it matter if they are stained? And the sun is an excellent, FREE stain fighter! So are stain fighters necessary? No, they aren’t. You can 100 percent make it without ever buying a stain fighter. 105 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Soakers Soaker for an all-in-two diaper A soaker can really be one of several things: 1) a wool or fleece diaper cover 2) the absorbent middle section of a diaper 3) another word for an insert 4) another word for a doubler So are soakers necessary? Well, it depends on what type of soaker it is. You can get by without ever purchasing a wool or fleece soaker/cover, but they do work very well. You absolutely must have an absorbent part of a diaper--or it doesn’t work! So, in that sense, a soaker is necessary. Inserts/Soakers are optional depending on the diaper type. Doublers/Soakers are optional as well. 106 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Detergent Detergent--oh, the elusive cloth diapering detergent. Where are you? Which one of you is the best? If you are new to cloth diapering, you need to know two things when it comes to detergent: 1) You must use a detergent that is safe for cloth diapers. Yes, there is a difference in regular detergents and detergents that are cloth diaper safe. We will discuss this more below. 2) Which cloth diaper detergent is best is highly subjective and dependent upon a number of factors. In a nutshell, if you use a detergent that contains dyes, perfumes and other additives, those things may leave residue on your diapers, which may eventually lead to the diapers not functioning properly. However, the detergent brand that works well for one cloth diapering family may not work well for another family. Water type (hard or soft), the type of washing machine you are using and even the type of diapers you use can all factor into whether or not a detergent will work for you. I recommend getting suggestions for detergents from other cloth diapering parents in your local community, as their water type should be similar to yours. And know that the detergent you start with may not be the one you end up sticking with for the long haul. But it’s okay. You can always use that detergent on your clothes! In fact, I highly recommend only using a cloth-safe detergent on your other laundry. Otherwise, you may risk residue building up in your washing machine, which can eventually rub off on your diapers. Be sure the cloth diaper detergent you choose is free of: fabric softeners, which will cause your diapers to repel liquid. optical brighteners, which give the illusion that fabric is whiter/brighter than it really is. These also can cause build-up-which causes leaks--and even skin irritations. 107 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. stain guards, which coat fabrics and can, again, cause leaks. soaps, which can leave a filmy residue (even natural ones, like Castile soap). oils, which can rub off on your diapers and cause leaking. As we discussed in the section on prepping, it’s important to get all the oils out of your natural-fibered diapers before washing them together with your other diapers. These oils must be washed out in order to trigger absorbency. Any detergents that contain oils can cause your diapers to stop working as well. What about homemade detergents? I have never made my own, although many cloth diapering parents do. To be honest, I have been leery of leaving residue on my diapers with a homemade detergent, and, therefore, I’ve never even tried it. I’ve found what works for me, so I’m sticking with it! Determining the Best Detergent for YOU! This handy little tool will rate detergents for you as you seek out which ones to try--and which ones to stay away from: http://detergent.realdiaperindustry.org/. Here are two other handy charts that rate detergents: http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoicesataglancepspd. htm http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html So is detergent necessary? Yes! You can’t use cloth diapers without detergent to wash them! Wool Dryer Balls I had never heard of wool dryer balls until I started using cloth diapers, and now I love them! Dryer sheets are a big no-no with cloth diapering because they can leave residue on your diapers. Instead, you can use wool dryer balls to help soften both your clothes and diapers--and also help speed up drying time! 108 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I wrote about my experience with using wool dryer balls here: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2013/01/detox-your-laundry-roomwith-wool-dryer-balls.html. You can use anywhere from three to nine dryer balls in your dryer at a time. The more balls you use, the faster your drying time should be. Some people also scent their balls with essential oils. I have been using the same dryer balls for nearly three years now. It has been nice not to have to buy dryer sheets any more, and it’s been one more step in detoxing my laundry room! So are dryer balls necessary? You can definitely live without wool dryer balls. You can use something like tennis balls instead, but I do really enjoy using the wool ones. Wool is naturally antibacterial and antifungal,1 which is a huge plus. They seem to last forever as well. You can purchase “dressed” up wool dryer balls that comes in snazzy colors, and in an assortment of scents, but you can save your money and purchase plainly-made scentless ones that work just as well. As an aside, dryer balls do make quite a bit of noise in the dryer. I am so used to it by now, though, that I don’t even hear them. 109 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Diaper Sprayers A diaper sprayer is essentially a small hose with a sprayable nozzle that attaches to your toilet. They are much like the sprayers that attach to most kitchen sinks. The sprayer serves to knock solid waste off the diapers and into the toilet and can also be used to pre-rinse your wet diapers right after they are soiled. Some plumbing systems are not set up to accommodate diaper sprayers, so please be sure you can hook one up to your toilet before you buy one. Diaper sprayers are not cheap. The following link provides a tutorial for a do-it-yourself diaper sprayer if you are on a tight budget: http://gidgetgoeshome.com/2008/08/25/diy-tutorial-make-your-owndiaper-sprayer/. So are diaper sprayers necessary? No, they really are not necessary. I know plenty of cloth diapering parents who do not use them. But I do personally own one. It does come in handy when a baby has an especially messy diaper, but you can totally live without one. Diaper Bags I do not personally own any special cloth diaper bag. I just use my regular diaper bag. You mainly want to make sure your diaper bag is big enough to fit several cloth diapers, a wetbag and wipes or anything else you may carry in your diaper bag. Cloth diapers take up more space--a lot more space--than disposables, so you have to keep that in mind. So are diaper bags necessary? A special one made for cloth diapers? No. A diaper bag big enough to fit cloth diapers AND everything else for baby AND everything else for mom? Yes, that is most definitely needed! Diaper Creams You must absolutely not use a regular diaper cream on a cloth diaper. I discuss this more in confession 8, under “cloth diapering no-nos,” but suffice it to say that you can ruin your cloth diapers by using a cream on them that is not cloth safe. 110 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Some parents will claim that cloth-diapered babies never get diaper rashes. That is simply not true. At some point, all of my children have had diaper rashes while using cloth. There are many cloth-safe creams on the market today. Get recommendations and take the plunge and buy one. I do suggest going ahead and keeping one tube of cloth diaper-safe cream on hand for emergencies. An alternative to a cloth diaper-safe cream would be to use regular rash cream with a heavy-duty liner (a good, thick rag can do the trick). I do not suggest using disposable liners as a barrier in this instance because they are really too thin, and the cream will still get onto the diapers (been there!). You can also just use coconut oil. Coconut oil has many health properties and is cloth-diaper safe. So are diaper creams necessary? If your baby is one of the few that never gets diaper rashes, then you may be okay without diaper creams, but most babies do get them at some point, so I recommend keeping at least one tube of cream on hand. Plus, most of the cloth-safe creams double as moisturizers--for both you and your baby. They will not go to waste even if your baby never has a rash. Snappis/Pins Ahhh--the stereotypical diaper pin. Does anyone still use those? Well, yes, actually there are quite a few parents who do still use diaper pins to fasten their prefolds or flat diapers. But more parents use what is known as a Snappi. Snappis are made of plastic and hold a diaper together without the risk of the baby getting stuck with a sharp pin. 111 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Check out this picture of a Snappi below: 112 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. So are Snappis/pins necessary? Snappis and/or pins are only necessary if you are using prefold, flat, or contoured diapers. You should only need one to two pins or Snappis total. Covers Cloth diaper covers are waterproof and are what make natural-fibered diapers like prefolds, flats, fitteds and contoured diapers work. Otherwise, these diapers, although highly absorbent, will still leak all over the place. Covers are either made of TPU, PUL, fleece or wool. So are covers necessary? Covers are absolutely necessary if you are using prefold, flat, fitted or contoured diapers. You will need one cover for about every four to six diapers you have. Covers can be reused a few times by airing them out between changes unless there is poop on them. 113 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diapering Accessories Cloth Wipes Wipes Solution Liners Inserts Doublers Necessary? How Many Needed? Cheap Alternative no no no 3-4 dozen baby wash cloths plain water fleece scraps pockets-yes; others-no no Diaper Pail Wetbag (s) Stain Fighters Detergent no yes no yes Dryer Balls Diaper Sprayer no no Special Diaper Bag Cloth-Safe Creams Snappis/Pins Covers personal preference 1-2 for each diaper no yes flats/prefolds/ contours-yes natural fibered diapers-yes 3-S, M, L 3-6 varies 1-2 total 1 for every 4-6 diapers prefolds, microfiber rags prefolds, microfiber rags plain trashcan ziplock bags* the sun homemade detergent* tennis balls kitchen sink hose spray regular diaper bag coconut oil safety pins* plastic bloomers* *not recommended Establish a Wash Routine Now let’s tackle the cloth diapering wash routine! First of all, I’d like to point out that, in case you haven’t realized it by now, most things cloth diaper related are subjective, meaning there are really very little absolutes when it comes to cloth diapering. What works for one person may not work for everyone. I recommend washing your diapers every other day or at least every third day, but you can technically go up to four or five days. Some people wash every day! 114 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Here is my personal cloth diapering wash routine: 1) Every other day, I dump my soiled diapers from the wetbag into the washing machine. Between two in diapers, this usually equates to somewhere around 15 to 18 diapers. Then, I drop the wetbag (which should be washed as well) into the machine. 2) I turn the water on cold and turn the setting on the machine up to the highest amount of water possible. 3) I run one rinse cycle. 4) I then pour in one scoop of detergent and turn the water to hot. If my diapers are especially dirty (or have been sitting for longer than 3 days), I will also include a couple scoops of pure oxygen in the wash cycle. 5) I run one hot cycle, which includes an automatic cold rinse at the end. 6) I then turn the water back to cold and run a rinse cycle. 7) After the diapers are finished washing, I either hang them on my drying rack or dry them on medium in the dryer. I always hang my covers to dry. 8) When the diapers are dry, I sometimes pre-stuff them, so they are all ready to put on my babies. Otherwise, I will keep the inserts in one container and the shells in another container and just stuff when it’s time to change the diaper. 115 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Top Loader vs. HE (High Efficiency) Washing Machines I have a top loading washing machine. Although these machines use more water and are therefore not as environmentally friendly as HE machines, top loading machines are known to get cloth diapers much cleaner than HE machines. Because HE machines do not use as much water, they may not always use the amount of water needed to get the diapers clean enough. You can “trick” the machine by adding a towel to the wash cycle. This will cause the machine to fill up with more water and do a better job. Alternately, some cloth diapering parents purchase an extra machine just to wash their diapers! If you have the space and money, a simple top loading machine may work very well for this. But most families probably have neither the space nor the extra money. Hard vs. Soft Water Water can be hard or soft. Hard water retains more of the minerals naturally present in water, and, thus, requires more detergent to clean effectively. Soft water, on the other hand, can reduce the need for detergent by up to 50 percent!2 Contacting your city water supplier to determine if you have hard or soft water may help you figure out if you need more or less detergent to get your diapers sparkling clean. Some detergents are designed to work better with soft water, and some work better with hard water. A very simple way to find a good cloth diapering detergent for your local water type is to ask other cloth diapering mothers in your community what type of detergent works for them. You can also just do some trialand-error testing on your own. Here are 10 Tips to Remember When Establishing Your Wash Routine: 1. Rinse/Wash/Rinse This is the most basic foundation of a good wash routine. 116 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. The first rinse is to knock off any solids that may have stuck to the diaper. Some people add a small amount of detergent to this step. I do not. I personally rinse in cold water. And some cloth diapering advocates suggest that rinsing in any other temperature will risk setting in stains. However, other cloth diapering parents tout the benefits of pre-rinsing in warm water, pointing to the fact that stains (warm body fluids) are best removed at the temperature in which they were created. I personally rinse in cold because it saves me money, and I have not had a problem with much staining. The hot wash with detergent cleans the diapers. (Note: Do not use the “sanitizing” cycle with an HE machine. Just use the setting that allows for the most water possible, and set the temperature to “hot.”) The cold rinse gets out detergent residue. (Many people add a second cold rinse to guarantee that all detergent rinses out. I personally do this, but like I stated above, my first cold rinse it automatically included after my hot wash. Yours may be, too.) 2. Full load of diapers = no more than 15-17 diapers I count each diaper shell and inserts as one diaper. Yes, I know your machine looks like it can fit more, but in my experience, if you shove more diapers than this in, they won’t get clean. 3. Cloth diapers like LOTS of WATER. Use the maximum amount of water possible with your diapers! Again, if you have a HE machine, you might have to trick the machine to add more 117 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. water by adding a towel to the load. I have a top-loader washing machine, so I just set it on the “super” setting. 4. Use a good, cloth-safe detergent. There are a LOT of good detergents on the market. It’s important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another. Discover what works for you, and stick with it. Your diapers will thank you! ● ● ● Powdered detergents generally rinse out better than If you have any questions about a particular liquid ones detergent, don’t forget to check out the Real do. Diaper Association’s online Detergent Determiner: ● ● ● http://detergent.realdiaperindustry.org/. I LOVE this little tool! It helps you determine if the detergent you want to try is cloth safe! 5. Use a cloth-safe detergent for your regular laundry. Using detergents with dyes, perfumes and optical brighteners on your regular laundry can leave residue in the drum of your washing machine, which will, in turn, leave residue on your diapers. Some people will say this isn’t true, but I have personally experienced it. While on vacation one time, I used a washing machine full of detergent residue--and my diapers did not work when I returned from my trip. 6. Realize it might take time to figure out the amount of detergent that you need. The amount of detergent you’ll need is not only dependent upon your type of washing machine (HE machines take less) but also upon the water type (hard water takes more and soft water takes less). Realize you may need to experiment a little before finding what works for you. 7. A weekly soak does wonders for stains. I highly recommend soaking with pure oxygen once per week for extra whitening and brightening and extra disinfecting. You can soak from from 118 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. one hour to all night, depending on how clean you want your diapers. Always do a pre-rinse and soak on hot. 8. The sun is a natural stain-fighter. If all else fails, sunning (sometimes for more than one day) should get rid of your stains (and disinfect naturally as well!). Sun your diapers and inserts while they are still wet. Spraying a little lemon water or diluted white vinegar on the stains may also help. 9. You should be able to machine or line dry most of your diapers. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, but most diapers can be either line dried or dried in a dryer. I line dry (or, rather, I lay them on a drying rack since my homeowner’s association doesn’t allow lines) when weather permits, or I dry on low to medium. Line drying your covers and shells keep them nicer for longer. I should mention that your diapers will not feel as soft right off the line as they will out of the dryer. A quick fix to this is to fluff them in the dryer for about five minutes. I will mention this again in confession 8, but do NOT use dryer sheets, as these contain perfumes and other ingredients that can leave residue on your diapers and cause them to leak! I personally use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. They help speed up the drying process and don’t leave any chemicals on my diapers--or other laundry! 10. Give yourself time to get down a good routine. Learning the routine that works for your family takes time in the beginning, but once you have it, you’re good to go! 119 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Washing Diapers at a Glance Step 1: Toss soiled diapers into washing machine. Step 2: Rinse diapers. Step 3: Wash diapers on hot with detergent. Step 4: Rinse diapers. Step 5: Hang to dry or toss in the dryer. Stripping Your Diapers Oh, the dreaded word: Strip! It’s something I heard of early in my cloth diapering journey, but I hoped to never have to do it. That now makes me chuckle. After having dealt with several yeast rashes, urine and detergent residue and plenty of user-error, I’ve had to strip my diapers several times. And now I’m quite thankful that there is such a thing. The ability to strip your diapers is the ability to revitalize them, and, in essence, to save them. It’s a light at the end of a leaky-stinky diaper tunnel. 120 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. It means that no matter what cloth diapering mistakes you make, you can, at least most of the time, undo them. There are several methods of stripping. In one method, you simply run your diapers through a HOT wash with NO detergent and then run them through several rinses. The theory behind this method is that the detergent and/or urine that is built up in the diapers can be rinsed away with so many extra Syntheticrinses. fibered diapers Another method is the dishwasher strip. With are much more this method, you place your diapers and inserts prone to build (minus the covers or any diapers with PUL/TPU) on the top rack of your dishwasher and run up than them through a wash cycle without detergent. natural-fibered The theory here is that the water in the dishwasher gets hotter than the water in your diapers, and, washing machine. I personally have never tried therefore, may this method because I think it could pose a fire hazard. Plus, it just seems a little icky to me to need to be clean my diapers in the same place where I stripped more clean my dishes! If you want to use the hottest water possible, the solution is simple: turn up often. the temperature on your hot water heater. And then there is the Dawn dish liquid strip. This is my preferred method. The Dawn Dish Soap Diaper Strip Supplies Needed: original blue Dawn dish soap Method: Add a squirt or two of Dawn to your washing machine. Add in clean diapers. Wash on HOT. Run the load through several rinses until there are no more bubbles in the water. The theory behind this method is that the Dawn soap is a degreaser that can remove oily residue. 121 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Disinfecting Diapers If your diapers get contaminated with yeast, a regular strip will just not cut it. You will need to do a special disinfecting wash on them. I have developed my own disinfecting strip that works wonders! I have included instructions for this strip in confession 8 under challenge #8: yeast. Laundering Aids* Besides adding a little pure oxygen bleach every once in a while if my diapers are especially dirty, I use very little laundering aids. However, the following list gives some possible cloth-safe additives that just might give your diapers an extra boost, depending on your water and machine type: Bac-Out This is a natural stain and odor eliminator. I have personally never used it, but some cloth diapering parents even use it to strip their diapers. Baking Soda When I first started cloth diapering, I would occasionally add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of baking soda to the wash for an added cleaning boost. Now, I mostly use baking soda to help neutralize the odors in my wet bag. I’ll just shake a bit in the bag when I feel like the diapers are especially stinky. Bleach I see bleach as a last resort, and some diaper brands will void their warranties if you have used bleach. However, other brands recommend adding a little bit of bleach to the wash once in a while. I have never been brave enough to try--and, thankfully, my disinfecting strip has worked so well that I haven’t had to try. Calgon If you have especially hard water, you may need a water softener to break down the hard water minerals and help the detergent do its job. This will also help prevent build up. You may need to add extra rinse cycles if you are using a water softener like Calgon. 122 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Dawn Dish Soap I’ve already mentioned that I use Dawn to both strip and give my diapers a disinfecting strip. A little goes a long way, and you will want to make sure all the bubbles are gone and the soap has completely been rinsed. I have also used Dawn to scrub out any non-cloth-safe diaper creams that may have stained my diapers. Essential Oils You can add a few drops of tea tree oil to your wash to disinfect your diapers. You can also add a few drops of lavender, orange or other essential oils to your wool dryer balls to leave a pleasant scent on your diapers. I do not suggest overdoing it, though, or the oils may soak into your diapers and cause them to repel urine. Oxygen Bleach This is the one additive that I use on a semi-normal basis as part of my wash routine. Oxygen bleach is much gentler and safer than chlorine bleach, yet it disinfects and whitens. If I feel my diapers are especially dirty, I will add a tablespoon or two of pure oxygen bleach. I also use oxygen bleach in my disinfecting strip. Some cloth diapering parents use the OxiClean brand, but I prefer to use a pure oxygen bleach that contains no fillers. There are several brands available today that you can get via Amazon.com or at a cloth diapering store. RLR RLR is another additive that is useful for those with hard water. It is a special treatment that helps remove build up. Some people use RLR to strip their diapers. It can also be used to whiten and brighten regular laundry. White Vinegar White vinegar is a natural fabric softener and reduces static cling. It also neutralizes odors. You can add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle. I don’t do this on a regular basis, but I have before. Your laundry 123 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. won’t smell like vinegar! As an aside, I will sometimes add 1/2 cup vinegar to my regular laundry and re-rinse if I’ve left the wet clothes sitting in the washing machine too long. This will take the sour smell out. *Please follow your diaper manufacturer’s recommendations. Get over the Poop! ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “It’s vital to remember here that the poop task, technically, isn’t exclusive to cloth. Read any disposable diaper box and you’ll see the note about putting solid waste in the sewer system, not the landfills. Poop doesn’t belong in landfills, but every disposable diaper-er I know (including my former self) just wraps it up and throws it away. They’re supposed to dump it out anyway. “My husband watched me scrape poop once and said, ‘This. This is what would be the last straw for me and we’d be back to disposables.’ Bummer, I thought, I guess the poop duty is up to me for the next two years…” ~Katie Kimball, author and creator/editor of Kitchen Stewardship ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● The number one reason why I never considered using cloth diapers until my second child was born is because I thought they would somehow be messier to change. I envisioned the stereotypical soaked and leaking prefold, with pee and poop all over my hands, my lap and everything else in my house. I honestly don’t even think I knew there were such things as cloth diaper covers that keep all the mess inside the diaper--whether you are using a prefold or another type. And I couldn’t imagine putting. . . poop. . . in my washing machine. How in the world would our clothes, linens and everything else I washed stay clean if I were constantly filling my machine with human feces? 124 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. But it can be done! ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● I quickly learned that cloth diapers not only contain messy diapers just as well as disposables, but I actually think they work better. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● You CAN Get the Poop Out! The golden question: What do you do with the poop? Do you just toss the dirty diapers in the washing machine and the poop somehow magically disappears while the detergent and water get the diapers sparkling clean? Well, no--not really. Let me walk you step-by-step through the poop removal process, and your diapers will be looking and smelling clean in no time! This process looks different for newborns and older babies, as well as for formula-fed babies and breastfed babies. Let’s start with the exclusively breastfed newborn. Disposing of Poop from a Breastfed Newborn: Step 1: Remove diaper from baby. Step 2: Optional: Rinse diaper. (Some people believe rinsing the soiled diaper right away will help prevent stains. This step is not necessary unless you are the stain police. Even if you rinse, your diapers may still get stained, but that does not mean they are not clean. We will talk about stain removal in confession 8.) Step 3: Toss soiled diaper, without dumping poop, into your wetbag or diaper pail with the rest of your dirty diapers. Step 4: On wash day, dump all of your soiled diapers into the washing machine and launder as normal. 125 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. See? Easy peasy! Poop from breastfed babies is not solid. Therefore, there is no way you can simply dump the poop into the toilet. But there is no need to scrub! In fact, the only reason you should ever have to scrub your diapers is if you somehow get non-organic material on them,such as a non-cloth-diaper-safe cream or your preschooler’s magic markers. Disposing of Poop from a Formula-Fed Newborn, an Older Baby or a Toddler: Step 1: Remove diaper from baby. Step 2: Take diaper to the bathroom. Step 3: Lift the toilet seat, and, holding diaper with both hands on ends or top and bottom, let poop slide off diaper and plop into the toilet. Step 4: Flush poop. Step 3: Toss soiled diaper into your wetbag or diaper pail with the rest of your dirty diapers. (If you have a pocket diaper, you may have the extra step of “unstuffing” or separating the soiled insert from the diaper shell. Not all brands require this. See confession 2 for more information. If you are using a diaper with a hook and loop closure, you will need to fasten the tabs on the backside of the diaper on either side. This helps keep the hooks from sticking to other diapers in the wash, leading to a diaper “train” that can tear at the fibers of the individual diapers.) Step 4: On wash day, dump all your soiled diapers into the washing machine and launder as normal. See? It’s not that hard or gross. In fact, as long as you keep your diapers contained in a well-sealed wetbag or closed-in diaper pail, your house should smell fresher than if you just keep soiled disposables in a diaper pail. Yes, the diapers will stink (all diapers do!), but you will not have solid waste sitting in a corner of your house somewhere; it will be long gone in the sewage! As an aside, did you know that the most sanitary way to dispose of all baby poop is by flushing it down the toilet? I never knew this until I 126 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. started using cloth diapers. If you look on a disposable diaper package, it actually states that feces should be flushed. Flushing poop down the toilet is cleaner for your home and for the environment, no matter what type of diaper you choose to use. Disposing of a Very Messy Poopy Diaper: Now, you may have read the previous steps and thought: “Well, that all sounds great in theory, but my baby’s poop does not just ‘plop’ in the toilet. It sticks to the diaper and is incredibly messy. I hear ya. No, really, I do. I’ve been there. I am still there sometimes. When I first started using cloth and heard this description of disposing of poop, I thought something might be wrong with me. It just wasn’t working out like that. I fell in love with using cloth diapers, but I still despised the steps it took to flush the poop down the toilet. I had to use toilet paper to pick the poop off the diapers. And it just didn’t feel sanitary--not in the least. And it’s for that reason that I credit cloth diaper use with helping me discover that my daughters have food sensitivities. If your children are not digesting their food well, you may want to consult with your trusted healthcare provider to determine the reason why your child is not properly digesting their food. Once we figured out that our children could not tolerate gluten or dairy, and we changed their diets accordingly, cloth diapering (and diapering in general) became much less messy. 127 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Save the squirt bottle they give you at the hospital. You can use it to clean poop off your diapers or use it to moisten your cloth wipes. Tools for Making Cleaning up the Poop Easier Flushable Liners Flushable liners were a lifesaver to me when I began cloth diapering. Flushable liners are very thin, like a single layer of a paper towel. Some brands seem rough and scratchy at first, but they soften up in the wash after the first use. To use them, you simply place the liner flat in the diaper, and it will “catch” the poop. Several brands make flushable liners, but I prefer the Imse Vimse liners because they are also washable. I don’t feel like I am wasting my money if my baby does not poop in them. Instead of having to throw away a liner that has not been soiled, I can simply toss it in the wetbag or diaper pail with the dirty diaper, wash, dry and reuse. You do not want to rewash a liner that has been soiled. That would really be defeating the purpose of the liner making disposing of the poop less messy! If the liner has been soiled, you simply scoop out the dirty liner and toss it into the toilet to flush. This is especially helpful if your child does struggle with really messy poops. Otherwise, I’d probably save your money and just let the poop fall into the toilet by itself. A Diaper Sprayer Many, many parents can successfully cloth diaper their children without the use of a diaper sprayer. BUT, for those who have children who produce especially messy diapers--or on those days when your baby may have a stomach virus or have eaten something that messed up his or her stomach--a diaper sprayer can help save you some sanity (and messy hands!). A diaper sprayer looks much like the sprayer that most people have on their sinks to aid in washing the dishes. Much like a sink sprayer uses the 128 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. water pressure to help get extra tough food off of your cookware, etc., a diaper sprayer uses water pressure to help get extra messy poop from your child’s diaper to inside the toilet. There are many different models and brands available, but my husband and I simply got ours online from Amazon.com. We read the reviews and went with one that people raved about and still fit within our budget. You simply hook the diaper sprayer up to the toilet following the directions on whatever model you purchase. (Make sure that your toilet has the proper tubing needed to accommodate a diaper sprayer before purchasing one. Some toilets do not.) As an added bonus, you can use the sprayer to help clean the toilet! A Spray or Squirt Bottle A spray bottle will inevitably be less effective than a diaper sprayer since the water pressure will be minimal, but it can still help knock some of the solids into the toilet. I saved the squirt bottles the hospital sent home with me, and I used these before I used a diaper sprayer. A Spatula I know—gross. Or maybe you don’t think this is gross at all. Some cloth diapering parents have had success with using an old spatula to knock solids into the toilet. This would obviously save them money from having to invest in either liners or a sprayer. But I would honestly worry about how sanitary this is. If you do go this route, I encourage you to keep the spatula well-guarded and away from your children who may find it and want to play with it (or worse). You would also want to clean the spatula well in between uses, which would add more time. Let the Diaper Soak If a diaper is especially soiled to the point that even a diaper sprayer will not knock the solids into the toilet, you may want to consider letting the diaper soak. On a few rare occasions, I have left a diaper sitting inside the toilet. The water usually helps to loosen the poop to the point that it 129 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. will fall off more easily. Just be sure to warn anyone who needs to use the toilet! What about when you’re out and about? It really depends on how you dispose of the poop at home. You will probably do something similar while you’re out. If you use flushable liners and are near a bathroom, simply dispose of the poop the same way you do while you are home. If you use a sprayer, you may want to consider investing in a small spray bottle to keep in your diaper bag. Worst case scenario, wrap up the poopy diaper as you would a disposable, keep it in a travel-sized wetbag, and dispose of the poop at home. This is actually what I tend to do most of the time. Do you need both a diaper sprayer and flushable liners? Probably not. Sometimes some of the poop will get outside of the liners, and you may like that the sprayer can finish rinsing the excess poop from the edges. OR, you may just want to pre-rinse your diapers. A diaper sprayer can definitely make this easier. But you obviously cannot take a diaper sprayer out with you, and you can take liners out with you. If I had to choose one, I’d go with the liners. If money is an issue, however, a diaper sprayer is a one-time investment, whereas you will need to continue to replace the liners. It’s ultimately your decision. You have to decide what route will work best for your family’s setup. What if there is still some poop around the edges of the diaper? A little bit of poop will be okay and will wash away in the machine. If you are concerned about your washing machine becoming dirty or unsanitary, you can occasionally wash your machine itself. In this post, 130 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Lexie of Lexie: Naturals gives instructions on how to clean a washing machine: http://www.lexienaturals.com/2013/02/how-to-clean-your-toploader-washing.html. But all this poop mess sounds so complicated! I wanted to include all of these options because everyone and every baby is different. But really? Most cloth diaper users should have no issues with simply knocking the solids into the toilet, flushing them away, tossing the soiled diaper into the wetbag or pail and washing as normal on wash day. 131 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diapering a Newborn Cloth diapering a newborn is really the easiest stage. Even if you don’t use cloth right away, I would suggest you start out before you baby starts eating solid foods. Breastfed poop is water soluble, so you don’t even have to flush away any poop. You literally just have to change the diaper, toss it into your diaper pail or wetbag and toss all the dirty diapers into the washing machine on the day you launder. I have many friends who use and prefer prefolds in the newborn stage. With the number of diaper changes that a newborn has, you will go through a LOT of diapers, and having to stuff pocket diapers is just one extra step. You could use all-in-ones, but all-in-ones tend to be pricey, and most brands take a long time to dry, which you would not want if you are needing more diapers for a heavy wetter or frequent pooper. If you don’t care for folding the prefolds and securing with a Snappi or pins (in the old-fashioned, stereotypical cloth diaper fashion) then you can always trifold them and stick them inside a cover. In this way, the prefold and cover combination are almost acting more like an all-in-two. There’s no folding around baby required. The only disadvantage to this would be if your baby were to have a blow-out that leaked onto the sides of the diaper. Folding and securing the prefold or flat diaper around the baby helps contain the mess. Theoretically you can use one-size diapers from the time your baby is born, but that does not always work out if your baby is small. Most onesize diapers do not fit until your baby reaches at least eight pounds. What about meconium? Won’t it stain? Most babies will only pass a few--maybe even one--meconium diaper. If you birth in a hospital, you may want to just go with the disposables that are available in your room. Otherwise, you can always use a cheap prefold or flat for your baby’s first several diapers, or you can use a thick rag as a liner to make sure the meconium does not leave stains. 133 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diapering a Toddler The main difference in cloth diapering a newborn and cloth diapering a toddler can be summed up in one word: poop. In all seriousness, if you haven’t figured it out already, once your child starts eating solid foods, his or her poop will change. Especially if you have exclusively breastfed your child, expect that slightly-sweet, buttered popcorn smell to turn a bit sour. Whereas breastfed poop is water soluble and requires no pre-treatment, you simply cannot dump a diaper full of solid fecal matter into your washing machine. You must first dispose of it. And you dispose of it in the same way you dispose of any human waste--in your toilet. It still amazes me that for years I never batted an eyelash at wrapping up soiled diapers and tossing them in the garbage. I exclusively used disposables on my oldest for two years, and I never once thought of how gross it was to toss a poopy diaper in a pail. But once I started cloth diapering I realized how much more sanitary it is--both for your home and the environment--to flush all feces down the toilet. When your toddler’s poop transitions into solid waste, you simply need to plop it in to the toilet. Wet diapers will remain the same and need no extra care. I have discussed disposing of poop at length in confession 5. The Best Diapers for Toddlers At some point in your cloth diapering journey, your baby will probably figure out how to take his or her diaper off. This happens with disposable diapers as well! I tend to use diapers that fasten with a hook and loop when my babies are little, but once they figure out how to get the diapers off, I normally switch to a snap fastener since they are harder to take off. As your child gets older, he or she may also become either a heavier or a lighter wetter. I notice that my children tend to urinate less frequently but more each time they do. For this reason, you may need to switch to a 134 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. more absorbent diaper--like one made with natural fibers (bamboo or cotton), or you may need to start double stuffing your pocket diapers if you didn’t before. Cloth Diapering an Older Child It is possible to cloth diaper an older or special needs child, but it will be more difficult to find diapers to fit children much heavier than 36 pounds. Your best bet for finding diapers to fit these children is through a workat-home mom via Etsy. Most can custom-make diapers for your children if you give them the proper measurements. Potty Training GroVia cloth trainer Do cloth diapered babies really potty train earlier than their peers? If you use modern cloth diapers that do not allow your child to feel wetness, then the benefits of early potty training will probably not be there. 135 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I personally think a lot of factors go into potty training, including a child’s personality, the home environment, food allergies/illnesses that may hinder digestion and more. My children, so far, have not potty trained early. But I have primarily used stay-dry diapers. Is early potty training worth it enough to you to use cloth diapers? If that’s one of your primary reasons in converting to cloth, then you should stick to natural-fibered diapers, like those made out of bamboo or cotton. Otherwise, you will be defeating your purpose in using cloth in the first place. Cloth Diapering Two or More Children at the Same Time I have spent the majority of my cloth diapering journey with two babies in diapers at the same time. It is really not hard. In fact, it can be more convenient than using disposables if you use one-size diapers. Plus, you will save a fortune in not having to buy diapers for multiple children! Since I mainly use one-size diapers, I do not even separate my babies’ diapers. I keep them all stored in the same container and just readjust the hook and loop or snaps quickly right before I diaper whichever child needs to be changed. If, however, you use sized diapers or if one child is a heavier wetter and, therefore, needs extra inserts, you may want to keep the diapers separated. The key here is staying on top of laundry (which can, honestly, be a huge struggle for me!). You will probably not be able to go more than two days in between washing the diapers since your diaper pail will fill up twice as quickly as someone who is only cloth diapering one baby. I own about 36 pocket diapers, 10 prefolds, three covers, and five fitteds. You can get by on a lot less. I started out with just an assortment of 24 diapers from my Cloth Diaper Foundation loan. The 36 pocket diapers 136 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. would really be more than enough to diaper my two girls, but I have collected the others along the way. 137 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Double (or Triple) Stuff a Pocket Diaper Cloth diapering at night can pose a challenge. Although I believe cloth diapers contain poop better than disposables, even the most absorbent cloth diaper will not hold as much urine as a disposable diaper. However, there are ways to successfully cloth diaper overnight, and double or triple stuffing a pocket diaper is one way. You can double stuff with microfiber inserts, but triple stuffing with microfiber inserts usually makes the diaper so bulky that it creates gaps in the leg holes, which will, in turn, cause the diaper to leak. Instead, you can triple stuff with much thinner bamboo inserts. Alternately, you can double stuff with one microfiber insert and one bamboo insert, or you can even try stuffing with a prefold since the cotton will absorb more than the microfiber. When using an extra insert, you will refer to that insert as a doubler. Or, you can also use inserts specifically made to be doublers. These will be trimmer than inserts and help lesson the bulkiness. Use a Flat, Prefold, Contoured or Fitted with a Wool Cover Diapers made of natural fibers, like bamboo, hemp or cotton, will absorb more than diapers made of synthetic fibers. Therefore, natural-fibered diapers are often preferred for night. You can use these diapers with any type cover, but wool covers are especially absorbent and make an excellent match for any natural-fibered diaper. The benefits of wool are many, including the fact that it is: antibacterial, antifungal, highly absorbent, and 139 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. self-cleaning.1 Did you catch the last one? You don’t even have to wash wool covers after each use! You can reuse them for several days before having to wash them. Wool covers can even serve as extra protection over pocket or all-in-one diapers at night. Read more about the benefits of wool in the following articles: ● ● ● Wool is antibacterial, antifungal, highly absorbent, and self-cleaning. What more could you want?! “Why Wool’s Cool”: ● ● ● http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/realdiapernews/quarterly_article_sanders_diaper-covers-why-wools-cool.htm “Organic Wool Diaper Covers: Do They Really Work?”: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/organic-wool-diaper-covers.htm “Wool Diaper Covers: A Perfect Nighttime Cloth Diaper Solution”: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/12/wool-diaper-covers-aperfect-nighttime-cloth-diaper-solution.html 140 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Natural FiberedDiapers bamboo pocket diaper You may have thought we covered natural-fibered diapers in the last section, but there we were only referring to diapers requiring covers. There are several pocket and all-in-one diapers on the market today that are also made of natural fibers. Although I personally prefer to use stay-dry pocket diapers made out of synthetic fabrics during the day, I use bamboo pocket diapers, triple stuffed with bamboo inserts, at night. This has been a “bullet proof” solution for me, and I can probably count on one hand the number of leaks we have had while using this method of overnight diapering. Disposables If all else fails, you may need to use disposable diapers at night. I feel confident one of the above solutions will work for you, but if it doesn’t, 141 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. don’t despair. Even if you only cloth diaper during the day, you are still saving money you wouldn’t save if you were using disposables full-time. Nighttime Solutions at a Glance: 1. Double or Triple Stuffed Pocket Diaper 2. Natural Fibered Diapers 3. Wool Covers 4. Disposables 142 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Once you’ve figured out what cloth diaper works best for you, have established a wash routine and have gotten into a cloth diapering “groove,” things should be pretty smooth sailing. However... Especially in the early days, you may occasionally encounter a cloth diapering challenge. Some challenges are quick fixes. But others may make you want to throw in the towel on cloth diapering altogether. One reason I wrote this book was because I have experienced just about every cloth diapering challenge you can experience. In fact, there was a point where I almost quit cloth diapering because of my daughter’s ongoing yeast infection, which was spreading to her diapers! If you’re in that place right now, breathe a sigh of relief and keep reading. I’m here to help. The Diaper Doesn’t Fit My Baby Getting the correct diaper fit on your baby isn’t really that difficult, but it may take a little trial and error on your part. This is why I highly, highly recommend that new moms not invest in an entire diaper stash before their babies are born. Each and every baby has his or her own unique shape, and a diaper that works for one baby may not work for all babies. Long and lean babies may need a more narrow diaper, whereas plumper babies may need a wider one. I recommend using a diaper with a hook and loop closure when your baby is very small because this closure will get a snugger fit. Most diapers come sized small, medium, or large. The distributor’s website will list weight limits on those. However, most pockets come in one-size options. I LOVE this because it saves more money! This is the 144 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. option we chose. Do keep in mind that most pocket diapers do not fit until the baby reaches at least eight pounds. It’s important to note that even when your cloth diapers may fit your baby, your baby’s clothes may not fit! Many cloth diapering parents have to go a size up in pants because cloth diapers are bulkier than disposable diapers. My Diapers Still Stink Even When Clean There are two main reasons your diapers may stink even after you wash them: either they are not getting clean enough or there is a residue. If your diapers smell badly as soon as your baby wets, they probably need to be stripped. Most likely, the diapers contain either detergent or urine residue. We will discuss residue at length in challenge #3. If you want to jump right to how to strip your diapers, go back to confession 5. If your diapers stink right out of the dryer/off the line, they are most likely not getting clean enough. There are five reasons why your wash routine may not be working for your diapers: 1. You may not be using enough detergent. When I first started cloth diapering, I kept reading that it took far less detergent to wash diapers than it did to wash regular laundry. And so I cut the recommended amount on my detergent box in half. But I couldn’t figure out why my diapers still had the faint scent of poop when I took them out of the dryer. It was really quite disgusting! And I’d have to wash and re-wash my diapers until I felt they were clean. What a waste of time, energy, water and detergent! 145 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Finally, a seasoned cloth diapering friend mentioned that I may want to try using a bit more detergent. Since I had already established a second rinse into my wash routine, she was pretty certain that alone would take care of getting all of the detergent out. So I tried it. I actually ended up doubling the amount of detergent I had been using. Instead of using half the recommended amount for a full load of diapers, I used the full amount. And my diapers came out of the wash not only sparkling clean but also smelling fresh! I personally use a standard top-loading washing machine. These machines are actually the easiest to use in getting cloth diapers clean. If you own an energy-efficient front-loading washer, you probably will be able to use much less detergent. Now, I am not suggesting that you use the full amount or double your detergent amount right away. Again, cloth diapering is so much trial and error. So many factors will determine the amount of detergent you should use. What I am suggesting is that you not give up if your diapers do not come out of the wash clean the first few times you wash them. It may take some trial and error on your part, but you will eventually get it down! And if you are still having trouble getting your diapers clean after testing out several different amounts of detergent, you may want to look into switching your detergent brand. 2. Your diapers may stink if you don’t remember to prerinse. Pre-rinsing or, as some call it, pre-washing, helps break down any solids remaining on your diapers. Running the full wash cycle with solid fecal matter will just create more of a mess. 3. Your diapers may stink if you forget to flush the solids. We all have moments (or days...or years!) of mommy brain. It’s possible to toss your diaper into the pail and forget to flush altogether. This will definitely create a mess and stink. 146 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 4. Your diapers may stink if you aren’t using enough water. Diapers LOVE water! Always use the maximum amount of water possible. On my particular machine, it’s the “super” setting. If you have a HE machine, you may have to trick the washer to use more water by adding a towel to the wash. Some cloth diapering parents designate a specific towel just for this. 5. Your diapers may stink if you are washing too many--or too little--at a time. As I suggested in confession 5, wash 15 to 17 diapers at at time. If you wash more than this, the water will not circulate enough to get the diapers clean. If you wash less than 15 diapers in one load, the diapers will not create enough friction to get clean. If you are sure numbers one through five are not the issue, you may need to strip your diapers because, most likely, build up is preventing them from getting clean and also hindering them from functioning properly. As I stated at the beginning of this section, diapers with buildup may or may not stink right out of the wash, but they will stink as soon as your child urinates. If your diapers are still stinking, ask yourself these questions: 1. Am I using enough detergent? 2. Am I remembering to pre-rinse? 3. Am I flushing the solids down the toilet before tossing my diapers in the pail? 4. Am I using enough water? 5. Are my diapers exhibiting other “symptoms” that may indicate they need to be stripped? (See confession 5 for more on stripping diapers.) 147 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. My Diapers Leak There are three reasons why your child’s diapers may leak: 1) Poor Fit 2) Urine or Detergent Residue 3) User-error We have already explored getting the right diaper fit in cloth diapering challenge #1 of this confession. If you are still in doubt as to whether or not your child’s diaper is leaking due to fit or build-up that is causing urine to repel, there is a simple test you can do. How to Determine if your Child’s Cloth Diaper is Repelling Urine To determine if your child’s diaper is repelling urine, simply hold a clean diaper or insert over a sink, press down with one hand* and slowly pour a small amount of water into the diaper. Does the water absorb into the diaper (or insert if you are using a pocket diaper)? Or does the water bead up and run off the edge? If your child’s diaper absorbs the water, then the leaky diaper is most likely the result of a poor fit. It may be that your child has outgrown the diaper, the diaper is still too big, or the specific diaper brand and/or style is not a good match for your child’s body type. If the water beads up, then the diaper contains residue of some sort and needs to be stripped. Now let’s explore urine and detergent residue in more detail, so you can get back to the joys of cloth diapering--without all the leaks! 148 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. *It is important to put some weight on the diaper or insert during this test, as your child’s weight will aid the urine in soaking in instead of rolling off the diaper when it is in place. Determining if Your Child’s Diaper is Leaking Due to Urine or Detergent Residue Detergent Residue Detergent residue is a common reason for leaky diapers. This type of residue can occur from: using a non-cloth-safe detergent on your diapers, using a non-cloth-safe detergent in the same machine where you wash your diapers (for your clothes, etc.), using too much detergent, using dryer sheets, or not using enough water.1 Another possible reason for detergent residue is the introduction of a new detergent. If you have recently started using a new detergent, it may not be that the detergent itself caused the residue but that the detergent caused old residues to be brought to the surface of your laundry. This is really a good thing because, otherwise, those old residues would have continued to build up. Urine Residue Urine residue happens when the diapers have not gotten clean enough because of either too little detergent or too little water. When this happens, the urine is not fully rinsed away. Diapers with urine residue leave a strong odor as soon as the child urinates, and they may also cause your child to have a bad diaper rash.1 Along with leaky diapers, strong odors and rashes, residues can also cause your diapers to appear discolored. Thankfully, both types of residue can be fixed with a good strip. Refer back to confession 5 for detailed instructions for stripping. 149 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Both types of residue go back to the wash routine. After you have stripped your diapers and they are working properly again, you may need to revisit your routine to see whether or not you need to make some changes to ensure your diapers will not build up with either detergent or urine residue again. User-Error Please don’t be offended, but you may be using your diapers incorrectly. And the fact that your diapers are leaking may be as simple as that. If your diapers seem to be fitting correctly and aren’t repelling due to urine or detergent residue, ask yourself these questions: 1. Have I fastened the diaper correctly? Is the diaper on tightly enough? Do you need to readjust the hook and loop or snaps to get a snugger fit? 2. Have I inserted the insert correctly? Is the insert inside the diaper? (Never lie microfiber inserts next to your baby’s skin!) Is the insert smoothed out, or does it bunch or wrinkle up? (It needs to be smooth.) 3. Have I recently used any new laundry aids? Have I recently switched detergents? 4. Have I recently introduced a new diaper cream? There are many cloth diaper-safe creams, but as we will discuss later, there are some creams you should never use on cloth diapers, or they will create a barrier on your diapers and cause them to leak. 5. Have you kept your baby in one diaper for too long? It sounds like a no-brainer, but cloth diapers can leak for the same reason that disposables will eventually leak. If the diaper gets too full, there is nowhere for the excess urine to go but out. Be sure to change your baby’s diaper frequently to avoid leaks. A good rule of thumb is to change your baby every two to three hours during the day. You can successfully keep your baby dry all night by employing some of the techniques we discussed for nighttime diapering in confession 7. 150 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. My Diapers Give My Baby a Rash When I first started cloth diapering, I read a rumor that said clothdiapered babies never get diaper rashes. Ha! That is so far from the truth! Now, some babies who use both cloth and disposable diapers may never get rashes, but there are some babies who just have sensitive skin or are prone to rashes in general. If your baby is suffering from a diaper rash, ask yourself these questions: 1. Is the detergent I’m using irritating my baby’s skin? Most cloth diaper-safe detergents should NOT irritate your baby’s skin because cloth diaper-safe detergents should be free of synthetic dyes, perfumes and other possible additives that would hurt sensitive skin in the first place. However, detergents affect people differently. Was your child’s skin okay until you recently switched detergents? If that’s the case, you may have your answer right there. Try changing detergents to see if it makes any difference. 2. Is your wash routine doing its job? Are you making sure to rinse out the detergent until there are no more bubbles in the water? If there are bubbles, then there is most likely detergent residue. Residue may lead to rashes AND leaky diapers. Add an extra rinse to your routine and see if that makes a difference. 3. Is your baby sensitive to the fabric? Some babies do very, very well with synthetic fabrics that comprise many modern cloth diaper styles and brands. These fabrics include microfleece, microfiber, and suede cloth, among others (see confession 2 for more information on cloth diaper fabrics). However, other babies can only tolerate diapers made with natural fabrics--like cotton, bamboo, hemp or wool. And in a very few instances, some babies may be allergic to natural fibers like wool. 151 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. There are truly pros and cons to both natural and synthetic-fibered diapers, but if your baby cannot tolerate one or the other, it’s time to make a change. This is one of many reasons that I recommend that expectant parents not purchase an entire diaper stash before their babies are born. You really don’t know what will work best for your child and your family until your baby arrives. 4. How long is your baby sitting in a soiled diaper? On average, cloth diapers should be changed every two to three hours and more often for a newborn. If the diaper is always soaked--and even to the point of leaking--by the time you change it, then, more than likely, the built-up moisture is irritating your baby’s skin and causing a rash to develop. 5. Does your baby have a food allergy or sensitivity? Some foods will cause eczema and all kinds of other skin irritations.2 In fact, if my baby had chronic skin issues, the first thing I’d look into doing would be to change my baby’s diet or my own diet if I were nursing.3 Does your child not properly digest his or her food or have frequent diarrhea? Frequent bowl movements will eventually rub your baby’s skin raw no matter what type of diaper you are using. All three of my children are somewhat sensitive to both dairy and gluten. It took some trial and error to figure this out, but once we did, their skin and stomach issues resolved themselves. 6. Does your child have a yeast infection? Oh yeast--the dreaded yeast! Yeast has been, by far, my biggest cloth diapering challenge. But if I can make it through a yeast rash*, so can you! The problem with yeast is that it lingers on cloth. You will have to do a special disinfecting wash to rid the diapers of the yeast. Otherwise, your child will continue with a yeast rash, and he or she may spread the rash to his or her siblings if you use the same diapers on more than one child! I will discuss yeast in more detail in challenge #8. 152 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. *Even though yeast infections are typically thought to be a female issue, both male and female babies can get yeast diaper rashes. 7. Is your child teething? Many mothers claim that the extra saliva that teething produces lends itself to more stomach acid, which, in turn, results in diaper rashes. If your child is getting his or her pearly whites, this may be your answer. I noticed this with my third baby. She battled a diaper rash for about a week before her first two teeth appeared. Once they popped through, the rash disappeared. 8. Did you recently strip your diapers? It is very important to make sure ALL the bubbles from the detergent are gone during the rinsing portion of a cloth diaper strip. If you recently stripped your diapers and your child just developed a rash, it could be because you did not rinse well enough. 9. Is your baby too wet (even if your diapers aren’t leaking)? Cloth diapers made of natural fibers will allow your baby to feel dampness against his or her skin. Some parents like this because it could potentially help babies to potty train earlier. But some babies are sensitive to a wet diaper area, especially at night. There is really a quick fix to this. If you like using natural-fibered diapers but prefer that your baby’s diaper area stay dry, you merely need to line the diaper with a stay-dry fabric--such as fleece. Many cloth diapering stores sell stay-dry liners, but a very economical option is to simply purchase scraps of fleece fabric and cut them up to make your own. Line each diaper with the fabric, and your baby’s skin will remain much dryer. This may even help some babies sleep better at night because they do not feel dampness against their skin. 10. Do your diapers contain urine residue? I have discussed urine residue at length in cloth diaper challenge #3. If the rash is accompanied by diapers that give off a strong ammonia 153 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. smell as soon as your baby urinates, then this is most likely the culprit. Ammonia will burn your baby’s skin. My Diapers are Stained Just because your cloth diaper may have stains, it does not mean that they are not clean. The smell test (see challenge #2) is a better test of their cleanliness than whether or not they look pretty. Sure, it may feel a little gross since you know that stain came from human feces, but think about something for a minute: have you ever stained your shirt with a squirt of mustard? Mustard is incredibly difficult to get out. But once you have washed your shirt, does it still contain the mustard--or merely the evidence that the mustard was once there? Your baby’s diapers are the same way. But, thankfully, poop stains are much easier to get out than mustard stains! Stain Fighters I have personally never used a stain pre-treater to fight poop stains. I’ve noticed that, in most cases, the diapers will not stain for even the “fullest” poop. And I haven’t wanted to waste money on stain removers. However, I have spoken with other cloth diapering mamas who regularly use the following: 1. Chlorine Bleach: Bleach is actually very controversial in the cloth diapering community. Some cloth diapering parents stand strongly against it, whereas others bleach their diapers on a regular basis. I have personally never used bleach and feel that it is too harsh for me to consider using on my diapers. However, if I were to use it, I would only do so on prefolds, flats, contours or fitteds--because these diapers are made from natural fibers. I figure if cotton T-shirts can handle bleach then so can cotton diapers. However, it’s important to note that the makers of some pocket diapers do recommend 154 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. occasionally using bleach to disinfect the diapers. Be aware that if you use bleach on a diaper brand that does not issue this recommendation, any warranties your diapers carry will probably be voided. 2. Oxygen Bleach: This is my laundering aid of choice. I do personally use pure oxygen as a laundry aid but not as a specific stain remover per se. I use pure oxygen bleach when I give my diapers a disinfecting strip or when I soak my diapers if they are especially dirty. Soaking your diapers in oxygen bleach can help remove stains. 3. Hydrogen Peroxide: This stain fighter also disinfects, although I have read that over use can damage your diapers, so I have always strayed away from trying it. To use, pour ½ cup directly into the water and let the machine start before adding in your diapers. 4. Bac-Out: This is another stain fighter I have never used, but some of my friends use it regularly. 5. Baking Soda: This is known to whiten and brighten, and it is very cost effective. Again, I would not overuse it, but it’s worth a try to add 1/2 cup to the wash if your diapers are especially soiled. Make sure your stain removers are cloth safe. Do not use conventional stain removers like Shout or Spray and Wash on your diapers! The Sun is Your Friend! One reason that I have not invested much money in stain removers is that I have discovered that the very best stain remover is both natural and free: the sun. In fact, using cloth diapers has revamped my entire laundry care routine. Before I converted to cloth, I never realized the sun’s power to both disinfect and naturally bleach out any laundry. 155 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I enjoy hanging my diapers to dry. There is just something relaxing about hanging freshly-washed diapers on a clothesline or drying rack on a breezy spring day. And I’ve found that if I lay any stained diapers in direct sunlight, that their stains are usually gone--or at least significantly faded--at the end of the day. If you have an especially tough stain, you can try spraying it with diluted lemon juice before you lay the diaper out in the sun. I sometimes fluff my diapers and inserts in the dryer for five minutes or so to remove the rough, “crunchy” feeling of being sun dried. But What If You Live in an Apartment? If you live in an apartment, you may not have anywhere to hang a clothesline, making it more difficult to sun your diapers. If you do have a small balcony or patio, you can still lie your diapers on a blanket or mat on the ground. Or, you can use a folding drying rack if space allows. If you live in an apartment with no balcony or patio, you can sun your diapers in a window seal or on the dashboard of your car. If neither of these are a possibility, you may want to ask a friend if you can borrow his or her clothesline for a day, or you can take your children to the park and sun your diapers on the ground there. You just might have to get inventive! My Toddler is Taking the Diapers Off and Running Around Naked This challenge may sound funny to those of you expecting your first baby--or for those of you with infants. But, at some point in time, most babies will go through a phase where they take off their diapers and like to run around the house naked. Is there a way to prevent this? Maybe and maybe not. My recommendation is to use diapers that have a snap fastener in lieu of 156 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. hook and loop during this stage. It is a lot easier for a toddler to learn how to unfasten hook and loop than to unfasten snaps. Other than that, you may have to duct tape the diaper to the baby--or just potty train early. Check out what Katie of Kitchen Stewardship had to say about her conversion from hook and loop to snap closures: “I officially converted from a ‘quick and easy hook and loop’ fan to a staunch snap supporter once I experienced these three strong arguments against hook and loop: 1) They come open too easily. When baby is scooting around on his belly, the last thing you want to see is bare buns moving across the floor. 2) They can BE opened too easily. Like by a curious 9 month old (see above for problem). Snaps usually are too tough for kids to open until about age two. 3) Longevity. This type of closure may only last about 6 months, which puts your cloth diaper investment in jeopardy far too quickly for my liking. “When it comes to snap closure, you’ll find either two or three snaps. There’s a reason for three: stability. Sometimes that extra snap can prevent the diaper from gapping at the upper leg. “Perhaps on thinner babies, that’s an issue, but with my guy, user error is a much greater concern. Three snaps has proven too confusing for dads and grandmas, so I rest firmly in the camp of ‘two snaps is best.’” 157 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. My Baby Soaks Through Several Diapers Per Night Nighttime diapering--it can be quite the challenge! In confession 7, I gave you 4 solutions to nighttime diapering. If you are experiencing this challenge, rest assured that you are not the only cloth diapering parent who is struggling! ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “As my baby became a toddler, we started having problems with our cloth diaper system leaking at night. For a while we actually switched to disposables at night, but, then, even those started leaking. It was so frustrating to have him wake up in the middle of the night soaked through and to have to change his sheets and his pajamas. Finally, I turned to the many wise cloth diapering mamas in my life for advice. I was so happy to find out that I wasn’t the only one going through that challenge! Instead of giving up on cloth diapering at night, we are working toward finding a nighttime solution.” ~Shannon Brown, Growing Slower ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● What is my personal nighttime solution? I personally use and love the Kawaii brand Mom Label bamboo pocket diapers for night. I triple stuff these diapers with bamboo inserts. Sometimes I line them with fleece, but sometimes I don’t. Overall, I have been very satisfied with these diapers and have had very few leaks. More recently, I have also been using a fitted diaper with a prefold doubler and my 31 Rubies wool cover on my baby at night. I have been very, very pleased with this solution as well. In fact, I am considering 158 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. making the full switch to just using fitteds and wool at night. There is just something comforting in knowing that your baby is wearing cloth that is 100 percent natural, especially when it involves wearing the same diaper upwards of eight hours or more each night. Do note that when using a diaper made of natural fibers--such as bamboo--it can take up to 10 washes before they reach their maximum absorbency. You can go ahead and use the diapers after two or three washes, but you may want to wait to use them at night until you have washed them at least 10 times. My Diapers Have Been Contaminated with Yeast As I have mentioned several times, one of my daughters struggled with yeast rashes in her diaper area from the time we brought her home from the hospital. Tell-tale signs of yeast rashes include: a persistent rash with well-defined borders that will not heal despite continued application of creams rash accompanied by oral thrush rash on the baby’s bottom while the breastfeeding mother has thrush on her nipples rash in the groin area with “satellite” rash spots on the upper thigh region1 Yeast rashes often occur after or during a bout with thrush. Breastfed babies are especially prone to thrush. Basically, thrush itself is a result of overgrowth of yeast in the intestines. If a baby has thrush, white spots will often show up in its mouth (but not always). The baby can infect the mother’s nipples with thrush. The thrush will cause her nipples to itch and burn. The baby and mother will continue to reinfect each other unless they treat the yeast.2 159 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. I did have thrush during the time my baby had a yeast rash, but she did not have any white patches present in her mouth. Not all babies will exhibit these, but the fact that I had thrush myself and my baby had a persistent, well-defined rash with satellite patches on her thighs were key clues for me. My baby’s rash lasted five months! I took her to the doctor several times, but the rash was never inflamed to the point where the doctor could diagnose it correctly. But we were finally able to determine that it was yeast. It is very important to either use a very strong barrier that can be disposed of or disposable diapers as long as your child has a yeast rash. The yeast will spread to the diapers. I personally chose to use disposable diapers once we determined that my baby’s rash was the result of yeast. I continued to use disposables until two weeks after her rash healed. Why Do Yeast Rashes Occur? An overgrowth of yeast has to do with compromised gut health. If your child has been on antibiotics--or, if you are breastfeeding and you have been on antibiotics--then the good bacteria that helps the gut flora remain balanced has been altered.2 Even though I had a natural labor and delivery with my second baby, I was group beta strep positive, which requires the administration of antibiotics. Although I can never be certain, I personally believe the antibiotics I received during labor helped contribute to my baby’s overgrowth of yeast. If I had known then what I know now, I would have upped my own probiotic intake before birth and continued on a probiotic-rich diet after she was born while I was breastfeeding. I would have also started giving her probiotics at birth--either through infant probiotic drops or by putting powdered probiotics on my nipples. Yeast thrives in warm, dark, moist places, so diapers are the ideal environment for its growth. It is very important to change your child’s diaper frequently, especially during a yeast infection. 2 160 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Ridding Your Child of a Yeast Rash I want to be transparent and let you know that I eventually had to use a prescription cream to rid my child of her yeast rash. But keep in mind that my child had the rash undiagnosed for five months. The rash itself was one reason why we even started looking into using cloth diapers! But if you catch the yeast rash early enough, there are several other methods of healing the rash that you can try: apple cider vinegar a cream with neem oil, such as CJ’s BUTTer Plus (a favorite of mine!) a probiotic paste (make by combining acidophilus powder with a little bit of water) plain yogurt an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream I have used a combination of the above methods when ridding my baby of subsequent yeast rashes that occurred after our first lengthy bout with yeast. I also found an excellent-looking remedy on the Pooters Diapers website that calls for combining apple cider vinegar, water and garlic: http://www.pootersdiapers.com/yeast-rash-cure/. Erin’s Disinfecting Strip When my daughter was battling a yeast infection, and I needed the diapers to get super clean, the regular strip just didn’t cut it. I needed to disinfect the diapers because the yeast had spread to them. But I also thought this was an ideal time to give them the fresh boost of a good strip. So I developed the following treatment: Supplies Needed: oxygen bleach, tea tree oil, blue Dawn dish detergent, the sun 1) Soak your clean cloth diapers on hot overnight with up to one half cup of pure oxygen bleach. 161 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 2) In the morning, add tea tree oil and a big squirt of blue original Dawn dish detergent to your wash. I would use no more than 2 drops of tea tree oil in a front loader and no more than 4 drops of tea tree oil in a top loader. You will need to add it to the detergent compartment for a front loader. If you use too much oil, your diapers may repel. 3) Wash on HOT. (I turn my hot water heater up as high as it goes!) 4) Run your diapers through about 3 rinse cycles after they have finished washing. Rinse until you see no more bubbles. (Just as your would with a regular strip.) 5) Lay your diapers out in the full sun. (No shade!) Note: You will also need to do this special wash with your cloth wipes, so go ahead and throw everything in the machine together! I Can’t Find a Good Diaper Rash Cream First of all, conventional diaper rash creams, such as Desitin or Butt Paste, are big no-nos with cloth diapers. (You will read more about cloth diapering “no-nos” in the next section.) If you are struggling to find a cloth diaper-safe cream that actually works, look for a brand that contains a combination of natural oils, such as shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. I also use a brand that contains a little bit of neem oil when we are dealing with a yeast rash. You can also use plain coconut oil, plain yogurt (especially for yeast) or make a paste with probiotic powder and water. The most important ingredient to avoid in a diaper cream is fish oil. Fish oil will leave a fishy smell no matter how much you wash the diapers. It is a common ingredient in mainstream diaper creams, so check your label well! This chart rates the cloth diaper compatibility of various creams on the market today: 162 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/diaperrashcreams.htm. I personally stay away from creams that are a zinc oxide base, as they tend to be barrier-based creams and can easily create a barrier on your diapers. Whereas you do want a barrier on your baby's bum if he or she has a rash, you don't want a barrier in between the urine and the soaker that is supposed to absorb it! Regardless of whether or not a cream is deemed "cloth safe," never just slather it directly onto your diapers. Even natural oils that most cloth-safe creams are comprised of can eventually cause build-up if the creams are overused. My friend Anne, owner/editor at Authentic Simplicity and author of Your Grocery Budget Toolbox, uses essential oils to treat diaper rashes: “I just put a few drops of jojoba oil into my hand (maybe five or six) and then a drop of lavender oil. I swirl it around then rub it into the clean skin on my baby’s bottom. I only do it in worse- case scenarios because apparently there’s some evidence that too much lavender and tea tree oil can negatively affect male hormones. But girls shouldn’t have any problem with it, and I think it’s fine for occasional use in boys.” Like everything with cloth diapering, it may take some trial and error on your part to determine which diaper cream works the best for your child. Please be sure to verify with the manufacturer if a cream is safe for your cloth diapers. You may also want to contact the manufacturer or your specific diaper brand to ask their recommendations for a cloth-safe cream. 163 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diapering No-Nos You can avoid many of the challenges discussed above by avoiding the following cloth diapering “no-nos”: No microfiber against baby’s skin: It may cause a rash or skin irritation. No dryer sheets: They will leave residue. No conventional stain removers: They will leave residue. No diaper creams that aren’t cloth safe: These are made to create a barrier on your baby’s bottom, and, guess what? They will also leave a barrier on your diapers, which will inhibit their absorption. You will also want to warn other caregivers not to use regular diaper creams on your baby. Getting Diaper Cream Out of Cloth Diapers I won’t beat around the bush: It is difficult to get some barrier-based creams (like Desitin) out of cloth diapers. My suggestion is to rub blue Dawn liquid dish soap directly into the diaper cream stain, let it sit for a little while and then scrub it with a scrub brush or old toothbrush. Then, wash the diaper until you see no more bubbles. You may have to do this several times. If you are not able to get the cream out and your diapers start to leak, do not despair. I don’t recommend selling malfunctioning diapers, but you can always use them as swim diapers. Read more about swim diapers in confession 9. If you are a seamstress, you may even be able to switch out the fabric and salvage the diaper altogether. 164 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Whether or not you travel with cloth diapers is a decision that only you and your family can make. Only you know if toting the diapers and diapering supplies around will make or break your vacation. I’ve done both. When I first started cloth diapering, I was pretty hardcore about it. If I was going to use cloth, I was going to fully throw myself into it; I tend to be an all-or-nothing type person. So when my family took a 10-hour trip to visit friends when my baby was six months old, I didn’t take one disposable diaper. Plus, the friend we were visiting was expecting her fourth baby at the time, and I knew the trip would be an opportunity to educate her about the many wonderful aspects of cloth. I also wanted to show her how to use them since she was already pretty convinced she wanted to give them a try. I’ve since lightened up a little and learned that it is sometimes okay to leave the cloth at home. Questions to Ponder Before Traveling 1) What is the duration of your trip? Are you going away for one night or a short weekend? Will you be able to get by without laundering the diapers while you are gone, or will you need to find somewhere to wash them? 2) What do your hosts think about cloth diapers? Will you be staying with family and friends who also use cloth diapers and are accustomed to caring for them? Or do your hosts cringe at even the thought of cloth diapers? Will you be taking advantage of their hospitality by asking to wash your poopy diapers in their machine? 3) Where will you wash the diapers? 166 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Will your place of lodging include a washing machine and dryer or place to hang your diapers to dry? Will you need to seek out a laundry facility? Will you have to hand wash the diapers in a sink or bathtub? 4) Will you be able to wash in a clean/residue-free washing machine? It’s still up in the air whether or not non-cloth-safe detergents leave a residue in the washing machine that rub off on your diapers, therefore hindering their ability to properly absorb. But I like to play it safe. Once while visiting family, my diapers were contaminated with detergent residue. The residue was very evident in the washing machine, and I had to strip my diapers when we returned home because they had started leaking. 5) Do you have room for all your supplies? You will most certainly need a wetbag (or two), detergent, any other cleaning aids you use in your routine and maybe even wool dryer balls. Will your luggage accommodate all of that? 6) What will you do with the poop while on the road (or in the air)? You won’t be able to take a diaper sprayer on the road, and if you are accustomed to using one then you might need to consider how else you will dispose of the poop. 7) How will you keep the diapers from staining? To be honest, I don’t really stress out about stains. The diapers will get clean in the wash; a stain does not indicate that they are dirty. But the longer the diapers sit before being washed, the more likely they will stain. If not having stains is important to you, then you need to consider that traveling with cloth will increase your risk of stained diapers. (Of course, the sun can zap those stains out when you get home!) 167 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 8) Will you have time to stop along the way for extra diaper changes? If your baby is not wearing a stay-dry diaper or liner, he or she will feel the wetness. It might be impossible to travel for more than two or three hours without stopping to change your baby. 9) Will you really save money by traveling with cloth? If your primary reason to use cloth diapers is to save money, you must consider whether or not you will truly save money by traveling with them. Will you have to pay to wash your diapers at a hotel laundry facility? If so, will the cost savings of using cloth make much of a difference--or any difference at all? 10) How much of your vacation do you want to spend washing diapers? Would you rather spend time washing diapers or lounging by the pool? You decide. Above all, as with any vacation, be prepared to expect the unexpected. Even if you do decide to travel with cloth, you may want to pack some disposable diapers just in case you get to your location and decide using cloth isn’t ideal. I suggest giving your diapers a good disinfecting strip (see confession 8, challenge 8 for instructions) when you get home. This will help rid your diapers of any residue they may have acquired on the trip. Day-Time Trips Using cloth diapers during quick day-time trips is really no different than using disposable diapers. In fact, all I do is toss a diaper or two in my oversized purse/diaper bag and go. I keep a medium-sized wetbag and 168 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. wipes in the bag. My current baby does not get many rashes, so I don’t even keep diaper cream on hand. But most people probably want to be more prepared than I am. (And I really should be more prepared!) So let’s look at: Packing the Cloth Diaper Diaper Bag Make sure your bag includes: 2-3 diapers wipes (whether pre-moistened cloth wipes in a small wetbag or disposable wipes) a medium-sized wetbag for dirty diapers cloth-safe diaper cream I suggest using a large diaper bag, as cloth diapers take up much more space than disposable diapers. What To Do With Poopy Diapers If your child has a poopy diaper while out, you can seek out a bathroom, where you can dispose of the poop in the toilet. Or, you can simply wrap up the poopy diaper as you would a disposable, place it in your wetbag and dispose of the poop once you get home. This is what I typically do. Weekend Trips Weekend trips will require bringing along a few more diapers. (The number will vary depending on the age of your child. Newborns will require more than older babies.) You will also need a larger wetbag. The key here is determining whether or not you will be gone long enough to need to launder the diapers. I suggest washing diapers at least every three days. So if you are just gone for the weekend, it should be no problem to wash them when you get home. 169 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Extended Vacations If you are going to be away longer than a weekend, you will have to launder your diapers. In this case, you may need to check with your host to determine whether or not you can wash your diapers at their house or if you will have to seek out a laundromat. In addition to diapers and wipes, you will need to pack: a large wetbag detergent any stain removers you are accustomed to using* wool dryer balls* *optional Special Circumstances Traveling with cloth diapers is a very gray area: sometimes it can be ideal, but sometimes it’s more trouble than it’s worth. 170 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. My friend Stephanie, creator of the website Keeper of the Home, is currently traveling the world with her family, including her 1-year-old cloth-diapered son. Here is what she had to say about traveling with cloth diapers: “I opted for a bit of a hybrid solution for this year abroad. I packed a small set of cloth diapers (I chose three Flip covers and four Flip inserts). I’ve also purchased biodegradable disposable inserts (both Flip and gDiaper brands) that I will have sent to us once we are preparing to go to countries where I can no longer purchase disposables. “For now, however, while I’m in countries where disposables are readily available, that’s what I’m using for the most part. The exception to that is when I have regular access to my own washing machine (which I will have in some of our accommodations, although not in most of them). Then I will use cloth occasionally while we’re at home and purchase disposables for outings. I don’t have a large enough stash to rely heavily on them, but it’s nice to use less disposables whenever possible. “Once we hit countries in places like East Africa, India, China, etc. where disposables are far harder to come by (or even dispose of in a responsible manner), I will rely heavily on the cloth diapers and the biodegradable inserts, and I may end up washing cloth diapers by hand. That is a reality of traveling in developing countries, and hence the reason that I’ve had to come up with creative solutions to get us through this year! Now, if only he would potty train early, all my problems would be solved!” 171 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Swim Diapers Many families spend their summers at the beach, lake or pool, and there are a variety of reusable swim diapers on the market today. This would even be a good option for someone who normally uses disposables because the cost of disposable swim diapers is especially high. The key to a good swim diaper is for the leg elastic to be tight enough to keep any poop in until you can get the baby out of the water. It is perfectly fine to use an unstuffed pocket diaper as a swim diaper. In fact, that is what I use. It is up for debate whether or not pool chemicals can damage the PUL/TPU in your diapers. For that reason, I typically designate specific diapers to only be used in the pool. My “swim” diapers are the ones that I ruined by using a non-cloth-safe cream on them when I first started cloth diapering. You don’t really need more than one or two swim diapers--unless your baby is on the swim team. 172 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. The Cloth Diaper Addiction Once you’ve been around the cloth diapering “community” for any length of time, you will begin to notice that cloth diapering can become quite the addiction. While I blog about a wide-range of topics on my website, The Humbled Homemaker, you will find entire blogs, forums, Facebook groups, etc. devoted to the sole purpose of educating on cloth diapering and building your stash. You could literally spend hours upon hours in their groups and pages learning about cloth diapering. I hope to save you from that because I’ve already done all the work for you. I think your time is more valuable than investing it in researching how to use cloth diapers. But you can still have a little fun with cloth. If you enjoy shopping, then browse away! Just be aware: Cloth diapering can become addicting! You don’t need a stash of 100 diapers for one baby! Twenty-four diapers for a newborn and 12 to 18 for a toddler will do just fine! 174 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. When the Cloth Diaper Honeymoon Ends: Taking a Break--or Calling it Quits ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “As a first-time mama on our first long road trip to Montana, I was determined to keep cloth diapering... for all of about 43 hours. It wasn’t even two days into the trip that I realized it would simply not happen. Not only did my wee girl get a rash on the pressure point where her sweet cheeks met up with a wet diaper for four hours straight (she was sleeping, so we kept driving!), but my in-laws would NOT allow me to wash the dirties in their washer. Faced with an angry baby and horrified family members, I must admit I was grateful to give in and take a break. The rash had cleared up the time we returned home, and call me lazy, but - I never did use cloth on long trips ever again.” ~Beth Learn, owner of Fit2B Studio ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Perhaps not for a small percentage of cloth diaper users, but for almost everyone, there will come a day when the “cloth diaper honeymoon” is over. You will realize--in a different light--that just as poop is poop, diapers are diapers. And though you may delight in the cuteness of your fluffy-bummed baby, at the end of the day, there’s still laundry to do . . . and diapers to wash. Maybe your excitement has turned to dread as you realize that you have to wash diapers every other day on top of three, four, five or more (maybe many more!) other people’s dirty clothes, linens, etc. There are various reasons why this may happen. Maybe you’re just behind on laundry in general. Maybe all you can keep clean these days are diapers. (I have most definitely been there myself!) 175 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. For Nikki Hughes, author of Your Blogging Business and co-owner of Butterfly Ministries, it was a messy diaper that almost made her call it quits: “The moment my daughter had diarrhea I asked myself why, oh why, did I do this to myself? But it's worth it the rest of the time,” she said. So what happens when the excitement of cloth diapering ends? Do you just go back to disposables? It’s at this point that it may be time to take a cloth diapering break. Did I really just say that? Yes, I did! You see, when I first started cloth diapering, I thought that I needed to cloth diaper no matter what other life circumstances I was facing. But I’ve since realized there are times in our lives when we have to give up any “extras” to maintain our sanity. Extra laundry may be one of those things you need to give up during times of family illness, vacations, holidays, traveling, while you’re writing a book (ahem), or even after the birth of a child. This is especially true if you have two, three, four, etc. other little ones at home or even in diapers themselves! I’ve been there! It’s important not to beat yourself up over this temporary hiatus from cloth diapering and not be ashamed to tell your other cloth diapering/crunchy mama friends that you are simply taking a break! Life happens, and although using cloth diapers is, in my opinion, no harder than using disposables, I do think that the extra laundry is reason for a temporary break if you are living in an especially busy or stressful season. If you are too bothered by the health or environmental concerns of using disposable diapers, even for a short time, you can always opt to use a diaper service. 176 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Using Your Cloth Diapers to Bless Others “I most likely wouldn’t have used cloth diapers if it had not been for my friend giving me more than a dozen of her own assorted diapers, covers and inserts. Most of them had been given to her through the Cloth Diaper Foundation, and I only had to purchase a few more to complete my stash. It was such a blessing to me at that time. I will now be able to pass most of them on to my sister to use with her baby and hopefully bless her just the same.” Lexie, owner of Lexie: Naturals My family could not have even started using cloth diapers if it had not been for the generosity of others through a loan we received from the now-extinct Cloth Diaper Foundation. Perhaps your child is now potty trained--or on their way--and you want to know what to do with your well-loved but still-functioning cloth diapers. You can always sell them, of course. Cloth diapers have a very good resale value. But you could also give them away. And so, I leave you with a challenge. Giving Diapers, Giving Hope After your child potty trains or outgrows his or her diapers, will you consider donating them to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope or another lending organization? You can donate your gently-used diapers, new diapers or even a monetary gift. 178 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Many mamas want to cloth diaper their babies and think that they can’t because they can’t afford the up-front costs. Can you help them? Along with Giving Diapers, Giving Hope, check out these organizations that are helping others cloth diaper: Sweet Cheeks Diaper Kits This organization puts together homemade diaper kits for families in need in the Triad area of North Carolina. Sweet Cheeks partners with North Carolina WIC offices to supply the kits. The response has been so overwhelming that there is currently a waiting list of parents hoping to convert to cloth with the use of donated diapers! Each free Sweet Cheeks kit includes everything a family needs to cloth diaper one child. A family can receive a kit for each child in their family who is in diapers. The organization also provides ongoing instruction and support to the families. Each kit includes: 1 diaper pail 18 or 24 handmade fitted T-shirt diapers (size small receives 24 in kit) 6 donated brand name diapers (if available) 6 donated or purchased waterproof covers 36 handmade cloth wipes 1 spray bottle 1 bottle/bag of donated detergent 1 bottle diaper cream 10 stay-dry liners Like other loaning programs, the families return the kits upon completion of the program so that other families can benefit. Sweet Cheeks is in need of 100 percent cotton T-shirts, new and used diapers, detergent, diaper cream, fabric and other supplies. You can find Sweet Cheeks on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/sweetcheeksdiaperkits?ref=ts&fref=ts. To get involved, email [email protected] for more information. 179 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Re-Diaper.com Re-Diaper.com sells gently used diapers, but they also have a small diaper loaning program. The diapers are distributed to low income and foster families. Donated diapers must be functional with good elastic, snaps, and PUL, although stains are fine! To get involved, email [email protected] for more information. Cotton Babies Cotton Babies is the owner of the extremely popular Bum Genius diaper. I have quite a few Bum Genius diapers in my stash, and I love them! But the owners of Cotton Babies go beyond business. They give extremely generously to families in need and unable to afford the up front costs of cloth diapering! Cotton Babies has built a multi-faceted “Share the Love” program to give back to others—all over the world! Among several other programs, Share the Love includes: 1) Diaper Grants for Missionary Families This is perhaps the program that excites me the most. My husband and I actually met while serving as short-term missionaries in Costa Rica. And while we obviously did not have children at that time, I think a cloth diaper grant would have been a tremendous blessing if we did have them! I have several missionary friends who have benefited from this program. In fact, I was visiting one friend when her grant package arrived! I could not believe the generosity of Cotton Babies! My friend received a huge box of brand new Bum Genius diapers with all the accessories she needed to successfully cloth diaper her baby in Brazil! Applicants must provide documentation that they are actively serving as international missionaries. Anyone can donate money to keep this program going. For more information on this program, visit: http://www.cottonbabies.com/index.php?cPath=58. 180 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 2) Give Love/Share the Love Programs Much like Giving Diapers, Giving Hope, this program collects donated used cloth diapers and distributes them to needy families in cities across the United States. To see if a city near you is a host site, visit: http://www.cottonbabies.com/cblovelocations.php. 3) Sheltering Wings Cotton Babies is in partnership with Sheltering Wings orphanage in Burkina Faso, West Africa to provide formula and cloth diapers to needy babies. 4) Teen Parents Through this program, Cotton Babies offers basic cloth diaper education as well as supplies for struggling young moms. To get involved with any of these programs, visit here: http://www.cottonbabies.com/index.php?cPath=168 or email [email protected] 181 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diaper Advocacy As more and more parents discover the many benefits of cloth diapering, advocacy groups have sprung up to educate those who are still on the fence when it comes to ditching disposables and converting to cloth. Some of these include: 1) Change 3 Things This challenge was started by Cotton Babies. The goal of this challenge is simple: recruit as many parents as possible to use just three cloth diapers per day--for a solid year. For more information, visit the Change 3 Things website: http://www.change3things.com. 2) The Great Cloth Diaper Change This world-wide annual event started on Earth Day 2011. Each year, families across the globe gather with their babies and change their cloth diapers simultaneously with the goal of breaking the Guinness World Record of the number of cloth diapers changed all at once. To find a host near you, visit http://greatclothdiaperchange.com/ or email [email protected] 3) Real Diaper Circle Meetings Members of the Real Diaper Association host monthly Real Diaper Circle Meetings across the United States and Canada. These meetings provide education, encouragement and support to cloth diapering parents and to those interested in using cloth. To find a circle near you or to apply to become a leader visit: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/directory/. 182 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. 4) Flats and Handwashing Challenge This is a challenge that Kim Rosas, the blogger behind Dirty Diaper Laundry and Cloth Diaper Finder, put together in 2011 as a way to bring attention to the accessibility and affordability of cloth diapers when using flats. The challenge came about after Kim read an article about low income mothers were reusing disposable diapers, which is not only unsanitary but also dangerous. Kim continues to hold this challenge each spring, usually in May. ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “When I was a baby, there was really not much choice. Almost everyone used cloth. And I know they were not near as good quality as today.” ~Christine Fields, 38-year-old mom of two ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● History of Diapers Diapering Through the Ages There is not space in this book to give an exhaustive history of diapers, but for you history buffs out there, check out these articles: “The History of Diapers--Disposable and Cloth”: This post gives links to a valuable timeline--and goes all the way back to ancient times, when parents supposedly used animal skins and leaves to diaper! http://www.diaperjungle.com/history-of-diapers.html “A Short History of Diapering in America”: In this post, a history teacher writes about how pioneers didn’t even wash their diapers, the invention of the prefold diaper in the 1950s and the surge of the modern cloth diaper in recent years. http://greenbabyguide.com/2011/01/12/a-short-history-of-cloth-diapering/ 183 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. “A History of Diapers”: This post includes vintage pictures and claims that in the 1400s in England diapers were only changed once every few days! http://www.hellobee.com/2012/07/20/a-history-of-diapers/ Diapering Around the World I was interested in diapering practices around the world, so I surveyed a sampling of friends and readers who live and or have lived overseas. Here is what they had to say: India “Cloth diapering in India is now changing. Earlier (5 years ago when my daughter was a baby), we used prefolds, and it was such a time sink. Now, though, we get Bum Genius cloth diapers here, too, and they’re a blessing.” ~Prerna Malik, owner/editor of The Mom Writes Uganda ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “Where I was in Uganda, many moms used cloths/rags on babies early on and then basically did elimination communication. They knew when pee or poo was coming and held the baby out over grass or dirt when it was time. There was mention of it being shameful if one missed baby’s cues and baby went on mom’s clothes.” ~Kelly Lawrence ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 184 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. ● ● ● ● ● China “In China many children don’t wear diapers because people think it’s unhealthy.” ~Dario Sadoc The Philippines ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● “Philippines: yes, there are cloth diapers, but they are nothing fancy. They started selling disposables, but many who buy them are the people who have a little bit more money. Street children walk around with no ‘undies’ or diapers on.” ~MayMay Chappell ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Mexico “The most common thing in developed areas is to use disposables. There are also women who choose to use basic cloth diapers with plastic shorts. Many indigenous or extremely poor women will fold and tie whatever kind of cloth they have on hand. Some will tie a plastic bag over the ‘diaper’ to catch leaks. Other women just go diaper free and let their children poop and pee wherever.You do find a few women who buy the snap cloth diapers, use cloth wipes, wipe spray, etc…but not many. Most children in Mexico are potty trained by 1 1/2 years old. Some families will use training potties.” ~Katie Mae, Nourishing Simplicity 185 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Closing Remarks Thank you for taking time to read this book. I put a lot of time and energy into it because I wanted to give you a resource that I wish I had had when I first started cloth diapering. I’d love to have you visit my website, The Humbled Homemaker, where I blog about all things natural mothering. We have an active Facebook community as well. Please stop in and say “hi”! 186 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Cloth Diapering Abbreviations & Terminology Although I refrain from using much of the cloth diapering lingo in this book, it is important for you to know it if you will be visiting cloth diapering forums to buy, sell or trade diapers or simply to learn more about the world of cloth. Yes, it is very much a “community” with a language all its own! And it can make your head spin if you’re new to cloth diapering! That’s why I’m here to help. AIO: all-in-one diaper AI2: all-in-two diaper AP: attachment parenting BF: breastfeed CD: cloth diaper CPF: Chinese prefold DD: dear daughter OR disposable diapers DH: dear husband DS: dear son DSQ: diaper service quality EC: excellent condition EUC: excellent used condition F&C: free & clear (used referring to detergents) 188 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. FL: front loader washing machine FM: fluffy mail FS: for sale FSOT: for sale or trade HE: high efficiency (when referring to washing machines) IPF: Indian prefold IMO: in my opinion ISO: in search of ITA: I totally agree KWIM: know what I mean LMK: let me know LO: little one NAK: nursing at keyboard NATCH: naturally NIP: new in package OC: organic cotton POSO: pull on snap off PUL: polyurethane laminate QD: quick dry SAHD: stay-at-home dad SAHM: stay-at-home mom 189 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. TL: top loader washing machine TPU: thermoplastic polyurethane T&T: turned and topstitched TTO: tea tree oil UBCPF: unbleached Chinese prefolds UBIPF: unbleached Indian prefolds WAHD: work-at-home dad WAHM: work-at-home mom WI2: wool-in-two WIO: wool-in-one Diaper Brands Commonly Referred To With Abbreviations: BG: Bum Genius FB: Fuzzi Bunz GADS:Green Acre Designs Diapers HH: Happy Heiny’s LC: Little Caboose JB: Joey Bunz SEZ: Snap- EZ Diapers 190 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Glossary Since I have written Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert to be understandable to even the most novice cloth diaper user, you may not find all of these terms in this book. However, it is important to know them as you begin or continue to build your stash. All-in-One -- A cloth diaper that is all in one piece, just like a disposable. No extra cover and no pre-assembly is required All-in-Two -- A cloth diaper that is all in two pieces--an outer cover or shell and an inner soaker or insert Aplix -- hook and loop closure, much like Velcro Contour -- a diaper that is shaped but does not come with a closure and requires a cover Doubler -- an absorbent soaker or insert that can be added to a diaper for more absorbency as needed Fitteds -- formed diapers that come with a snap or hook and loop closure and require a cover Flats -- large squares of single-layered fabric that can be folded in a variety of ways Fluffy Mail -- diaper mail Hook & Loop -- a common diaper closure similar to Velcro Hybrid -- a cross between disposable and cloth diapers Insert -- an absorbent soaker that can be added to a diaper for absorbency Liner -- a layer of fabric laid into a diaper to protect the diaper or provide a wetness barrier Longies -- wool or fleece pants that act as a diaper cover but cover the entire legs of a child One-Size Diaper -- a diaper that adjusts the size from newborn to toddler 191 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Pocket Diaper -- a diaper that comes with a pocket that must be stuffed with an absorbent insert Prefold -- rectangular pieces of cloth folded into three sections ProRap/ProWrap -- a diaper cover Sleeve -- a pocket diaper with two openings instead of one Shell -- the outer part of a pocket or all-in-two diaper (everything excluding the insert) Shorties -- wool or fleece diaper covers that look like shorts Snappi -- a stretchy closure used to hold flat, prefold, fitted or contour diapers in place Soaker -1. a wool or fleece diaper cover 2. the absorbent middle section of a diaper 3. another word for an insert 4. another word for a doubler Sposies -- a term used for disposable diapers Stash -- a collection of cloth diapers Strip -- a special wash to revitalize stinky or leaky diapers Wetbag -- a waterproof bag used for storing cloth diapers Wicking -- the movement of liquid through fabric 192 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Recommended Resources Although I’ve tried to make this book as comprehensive as possible, I know you may have additional questions at some point in your cloth diapering journey. I highly recommend the following resources for further reading: Blogs/Websites All About Cloth Diapers: http://allaboutclothdiapers.com/ Dirty Diaper Laundry: http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com The Real Diaper Association: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/ Diaper Pin: http://www.diaperpin.com/home.asp Diaper Swappers: http://www.diaperswappers.com/ Where to Buy I am excited to offer The Humbled Homemaker’s Natural Living Directory on my website. Here, you will find online shops where you can purchase all things natural, including cloth diapers and diapering accessories. The directory is updated frequently, so check in often! http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/natural-living-directory Resources Mentioned in This Book Bedwetting: http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/enuresis.htm Benefits of Wool: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/real-diapernews/quarterly_article_sanders_diaper-covers-why-wools-cool.htm http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/organic-wool-diaper-covers.htm http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/12/wool-diaper-covers-a-perfectnighttime-cloth-diaper-solution.html 193 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Buying, Selling and Donating Diapers: http://re-diaper.com Buying, Selling and Trading Diapers & Cloth Diaper Support: http://diaperswappers.com Change 3 Things: http://www.change3things.com Cloth Diaper Cost Analysis (takes into consideration diaper type and cost of energy to launder): http://www.diaperdecisions.com/pages/cost_of_cloth_diapers.php Cloth Diaper Cost Calculator: http://diaperpin.com/calculator/calculator.asp Cloth Diaper Finder: http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/cloth-diaper-finder/ Cloth Diapering and Potty Training: http://www.diapernet.org/whycloth.htm Cloth Diaper Sewing Tutorial: http://www.modernalternativemama.com/blog/2009/11/29/cloth-diapertutorial.html Compostable Diapers: http://www.ivysdiaperservice.com/p-32-greendisposable.html Convert My Diapers (to snaps or hook and loop): http://www.convertmydiapers.com/ Cotton Babies: http://www.cottonbabies.com/ Detergent Determiner Tool: http://detergent.realdiaperindustry.org/ Detergent Rating Charts: http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoicesataglancepspd.htm and http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html Diaper Service Directory: http://diaperservice.realdiaperindustry.org/locatea-diaper-service 194 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Eczema: http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/allergies_immune/eczema.ht ml http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/atopicdermatitis-eczema Flat Diaper Folds: http://www.diaperware.com/picturepages/flatfolding.htm Giving Diapers, Giving Hope: http://www.givingdiapersgivinghope.org/ Health Hazards Associated with Prolonged Use of Disposable Diapers: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php History of Diapers: http://www.diaperjungle.com/history-of-diapers.html http://greenbabyguide.com/2011/01/12/a-short-history-of-cloth-diapering/ http://www.hellobee.com/2012/07/20/a-history-of-diapers/ Homemade Baby Wash: www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/10/19/how-tomake-your-own-homemade-safe-baby-body-wash/ Homemade Cloth Wipes Solutions: http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-wipesolution.shtml Homemade Diaper Sprayer Tutorial: http://gidgetgoeshome.com/2008/08/25/diy-tutorial-make-your-owndiaper-sprayer/ Homemade Wool Wash: http://www.zany-zebra.com/washing-wooldiaper-covers.shtml How to Clean a Washing Machine: http://www.lexienaturals.com/2013/02/how-to-clean-your-top-loaderwashing.html How to Get a FREE Kindle App on Your Phone or Computer: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771 How to Send a PDF eBook to Your Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx1D 7SY3BVSESG&cdThread=Tx16Y9Z70XTXPBL 195 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. My Website: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com No-Sew Homemade Diaper Ideas: http://clothdiapers.blogspot.com/2011/04/almost-free-diapers-how-todiaper-your.html Prefold Sizing: http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/diapers.htm One-Size Wool Cover: http://www.zany-zebra.com/washing-wool-diapercovers.shtml Origami Fold: http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/how-to-fold-a-flat-origami-style Real Diaper Circle Meetings: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/directory/ Share the Love Program: http://www.cottonbabies.com/index.php?cPath=168 State Regulations on Cloth Diapers in Child Care Facilities: http://www.myblossombottom.com/pages/State-Regulations-on-ClothDiaper-in-Child-Care-.html Sweet Cheeks Diaper Kits: https://www.facebook.com/sweetcheeksdiaperkits?ref=ts&fref=ts The Great Cloth Diaper Change: http://greatclothdiaperchange.com/ The Mommies Network: http://www.themommiesnetwork.org/ Washing Wool Diaper Covers: http://www.zany-zebra.com/washing-wooldiaper-covers.shtml Wool Dryer Balls: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2013/01/detox-yourlaundry-room-with-wool-dryer-balls.html Yeast Rash Cure: http://www.pootersdiapers.com/yeast-rash-cure/ 196 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Chapter Index Introduction Why I Wrote This Book How This Book Can Help You How to Read This Book How to Use an Ebook Sharing This Book Part 1: 10 Cloth Diaper Confessions Confession #1: There are Many Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers Reason #1: Cloth Diapering Saves You Money A Cost Comparison The Cost of Washing Diapers Water Energy Detergent The Cost of Cloth Diapering Accessories Reason #2: Cloth Diapers are Better for the Environment Reason #3: Cloth Diapers are Better for Your Baby’s Health Reason #4: Cloth Diapering Can Potentially Lead to Earlier Potty Training Reason #5: Cloth Diapers Work Better Reason #6: Cloth Diapers are Typically Gentler on Baby’s Skin Reason #7: Cloth Diapers are Cute! My Personal Reasons for Using Cloth Diapers Confession #2: There is a Cloth Diaper Type for Everyone Natural vs. Synthetic Natural Synthetic Microfiber Microfleece Suede Cloth PUL or TPU Minky Velour Prepping One Sized vs. Sized Stay-Dry vs. Not Cover Types PUL/TPU Fleece 197 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Wool Caring for Wool Diaper Covers Closures Snappis Diaper Pins Hook and Loop Snaps Cloth Diaper Types Flats Prefolds Contours Fitteds Hybrids Pockets Sleeves All-in-Twos All-in-Ones A Compromise: Compostable Diapers Environmentally-Friendly Disposables My Preferences Confession #3: Anyone Can Use Cloth Diapers Section 1: Convincing Daddies Section 2: Convincing Other Caregivers Confession #4: Building a Cloth Diaper Stash is Easier Than You Think Section 1: Building a Cloth Diaper Stash Before Baby Born Section 2: Building a Cloth Diaper Stash After Baby Born Section 3: Building a Cloth Diaper Stash On a Budget Section 4: Using a Diaper Service Confession #5: Establishing a Cloth Diaper Routine Can Make or Break Your Experience: How to Prep, Gather Your Accessories, Wash, Strip, and Get Over the Poop Step 1: Prep Step 2: Gather Accessories Cloth Wipes Wipes Solution Liners Inserts Doublers Diaper Pails Wetbags Stain Fighters Soakers 198 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Detergent Dryer Balls Diaper Sprayer Diaper Bag Diaper Creams Snappis/Pins Covers Step 3: Establish a Wash Routine My Personal Routine Top Loader vs. HE Machines Hard vs. Soft Water 10 Tips Stripping Diapers Laundering Aids Step 4: Get Over the Poop! Disposing of Poop From a Breastfed Newborn Disposing of Poop from a Formula-Fed Newborn, Older Baby or Toddler Disposing of a Very Messy Poopy Diaper Tools for Making Clean Up Easier Flushable Liners Diaper Sprayer Spray Bottle Spatula What About While Out and About? Do You Need Both a Diaper Sprayer and Flushable Liners? What About Poop Around the Edges? Confession #6: You Can Successfully Cloth Diaper From Newborn through Potty Training Section 1: Cloth Diapering a Newborn Section 2: Cloth Diapering a Toddler Section 3: Cloth Diapering an Older Child Section 4: Potty Training Section 5: Cloth Diapering Two or More Children at the Same Time Confession #7: You Can Cloth Diaper at Night Confession #8: You Can Overcome Any Cloth Diapering Challenge Challenge #1: Fit Challenge #2: Stink Challenge #3: Leaks Detergent Residue Urine Residue Challenge #4: Rash Challenge #5: Stains Stain Fighters 199 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Challenge #6: Naked Toddlers Challenge #7: Nighttime Diapering Challenge #8: Yeast Determining a Yeast Rash Why Do Yeast Rashes Occur? Treating a Yeast Rash Erin’s Disinfecting Strip Challenge #10: Diaper Cream Cloth Diapering No-Nos Confession #9: You CAN Travel with Cloth Diapers--But You May Not Always Want To Questions to Ponder Section 1: Daytime Trips Packing a Diaper Bag Disposing of Poopy Diapers While Out Section 2: Weekend Trips Section 3: Extended Vacations Section 4: Special Circumstances Section 5: Swim Diapers Confession #10: Cloth Diapering Can Be Addicting Section 1: The Addiction Section 2: When the Honeymoon Ends: Taking a Break or Calling it Quits Part 2: The Heart and History Behind the Diapers Section 1: Using Your Cloth Diapers to Bless Others Section 2: Cloth Diaper Advocacy Section 3: History of Diapers Section 4: Diapering Around the World Closing Remarks Resources Cloth Diaper Abbreviations & Terminology Glossary Recommended Resources Blogs/Websites Where to Buy Resources Mentioned in This Book Chapter Index Sources Disclaimer and Disclosure Acknowledgments 200 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Confession 1 1. “Enuresis (Bed Wetting).” Kyla Boyse, R.N. University of Michigan Health System. Sept. 2008. 2. “Natural Alternatives to Bleach for Disinfecting.” Bethany Wieman. National Geographic: Green Living. 3. “Disposable Nappies: A Case Study in Waste Prevention.” Ann Link. Women’s Environmental Network. April 2003. 4. “Chemicals in Disposable Diapers.” Noreen Kassem. Livestrong.com. March 10, 2011. Confession 2 1. “Characteristics of Wool Fact Sheet.” SheepUSA.org 2. “Lanolin, Wool and Hand Cream.” Mike Bullivant. PBS.org. January 2005. 3. “Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge!” Kim Rosas. Dirty Diaper Laundry. April 18, 2012. 4. “Bleached or Unbleached Cloth Diapers.” ClothDiaper.com. 2011. 5. “Green Disposable Service.” Ivy’s Diaper Service. 2011. Confession 5 1. “Lanolin, Wool and Hand Cream.” Mike Bullivant. PBS.org. January 2005. 2. “Hard Facts About Tap Water.” Chicago Tribune News. Danielle Braff. April 25, 2012. 201 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. Confession 7 1. “Lanolin, Wool and Hand Cream.” Mike Bullivant. PBS.org. January 2005. Confession 8 1. “Residues.” Bummis.com 2. “Eczema.” KidsHealth.org 3. “Skin Conditions and Eczema.” WebMd. 4. “Fungal Infections of the Skin.” WebMd. 5. “Oral Thrush.” Mayo Clinic. Aug. 20, 2011. 202 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. No book is written alone, and I am grateful for so many people who helped me along the way! But there are a few who stand out: Will (my husband): I know you thought I was crazy when I even suggested we consider using cloth diapers! Thank you for spending many hours watching our girls and eating subpar food while I speed-wrote this book in a little over a month. Now, will you ever let me write a book again? I promise to spread it out a little better next time! Thank you for also designing my fabulous cover. It looks AMAZING! My three little girls: Thank you for being my little fluffy bummed test pilots. You inspired this book. My parents: Thank you for watching the girls more than usual and listening when I said I wanted to give up! The Bloggy Mamas: Leigh Ann, Nikki, Stacy, Anne, Mindy, Rachel and Jami, thank you for putting up with my endless questions and humoring me as I introduced each phase of my “marketing plan.” Barry Myers and Nikki Hughes: Thank you for looking over and fixing the mistakes in my cloth diaper cost analysis. You know, I’m a writer for a reason. Math? Well, we just don’t mix. Jessica Sibley of Word Well Editing: You were my editor in college, and who in the world would have dreamed we would BOTH be cloth diapering our babies? This book would have been a muddled mess without you. Jami of Young Wife’s Guide: Thank you for making the inside of my book look pretty. Because design? Well, design and math are about the same to me! Nicole: Thank you for working your “marketing magic.” Woo hoo! It’s done! To Stephanie and Katie: Thank you for inspiring me to blog and to write an ebook in the first place...and for answering my endless emails. 203 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved. To Heather, Sarah, Stacy and John: Thank you for introducing me to the world of cloth diapering. I credit you with instilling in me a passion--that I now hope to pass on to others. To each of you, I’m forever grateful. Dislaimer: This book is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Please use it as a starting place, and do your own research. Please consult the manufacturer of your diaper brand before using laundering aids or changing your wash routine. I cannot be held responsible for any damaged diapers, diaper rashes or any other harm. Disclosure: I have included a few affiliate links in this book. These links are for products that I use and love. 204 Erin Odom © 2013 | All rights reserved.
© Copyright 2019