Last month, we took the cloth diapering plunge! We love it! I wanted to do it from the beginning, but I my daycare provider told me that I couldn't. Then after witnessing the mounds of diapers in the last year go in the trash, I realized that even if we did the cloth diapers at home, it would still be better. To be sure, I asked the daycare director to confirm and to my surprise, they allow cloth diapers and she apologized that I was told the wrong information when I started. I wish I had asked her instead of the caregivers from the beginning. That sealed the deal! Aaron and I are always looking for ways that we can recycle, re-use, and reduce our waste so he was on board.
I called my friend, Jill, who sells cloth diapers as part of her natural parenting business. I love her hilarious blog post when her family made the big switch to cloth diapers when their daughter, was the same age as Ava is now. Like Jill, I was a bit hesitant at first handling the poopy diapers, but it turns out that now that I'm a mom I seem to be immune to tackling clean-ups of all kinds related to my daughter. Maybe it's that sweet smile and loving snuggle that makes me forget that I have snot, drool, or throw-up all over my shirt.
Exclusively breastfed baby poop is even easier. You can toss the entire diaper right in the wash because it's water soluable. Now that Ava is eating solid food, I have to do a swish in the toilet for her bowel movements. Aaron's idea is the best. We put the diaper in the water as we flush and the gush of the water is good enough to take care of the clean up.
We got two different organic cotton styles from Bummis to try them and see what we like best before making an investment. Jill told me that I'd like different diapers for different occasions and I agree. We have the covers with the cloth prefolds inside, which are great for home and the all-in-ones are easy for on the go since there is no fiddling. And the diapers are so cute! Lady bugs, flowers, stars...how can you resist?
We still have disposable diapers to use up so we're going to finish them at daycare. At home we use cloth diapers. I take a wet sack to daycare, which they use for her soiled cloth diaper from her first diaper change at daycare. My daycare gave me a list of cloth diapering guidelines. Basically, I have to provide a clean diaper, including the cover for each diaper change. So eventually I'll need to add a lot more covers to current stash of 3. One of the La Leche League moms has lent us a bunch of prefolds and some covers. For now, we're the only cloth diapering family, but I suspect that I'm starting a trend. Another breastfeeding mom at my daycare asked me about it this week.
Cleaning the diapers isn't bad at all! I got an antibacterial cloth diaper pail liner, which I wash with the diapers. They should be washed every 2-3 days so we do the diaper wash 3 days a week. There's little folding involved so it's no big deal! Before you use the diapers for the first time, you need to wash/dry them 3-8 times to help boost the absorbancy. When you're washing soiled diapers, you run a cold rinse cycle and then a hot, extra rinse cycle with soap. On my HE washer, the whitest white cycle is perfect. You can't use commercial laundry detergents because they decrease the absorbancy. I use a couple tablespoons of the Rockin Green and it works like a charm! Remember not to use a fabric softener. For drying cycles, sometimes it takes more than one cycle, but I can add a towel to help bulk up the dryer. My dryer seems to work better with more in it. So far, they've been coming out really clean and even fresh smelling.
Besides the eco-friendly and cost-savings benefits, many of cloth diapering friends believed potty training was smoother because they could feel the wetness in their diaper. The toddler feeling a wet diaper can start to realize what's happening easier.
The one downside to cloth diapering is now Ava's tush is so much bigger and some of the clothes she has are too small. Disposable diapers are trimmer under pants. I have to account for that when we're getting her dressed. The LLL moms warned me that onesies can be too tight for cloth diapers and may cause leaks. They suggested to dress Ava in regular shirts and the baby leg warmers are fun when we're home!
Our next adventure is food composting at home. Aaron is going to create a container system for the yard that we can use for the composting. Since we have a lot of land, it won't be too smelly - we hope!
Cloth diaper resources: