Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cloth Diaper Extras

So you have your diapers and you might be thinking, what else do I need to make cloth diapering work for me.  I learned some things the hard way, so let me give you some ideas that actually work.  Do not put your cloth diapers in a plastic pail.  I used an old Diaper Genie because I did not have the money to buy a wet bag right away.  This makes your pail and cloth diapers seriously smelly!  Instead, try to buy one wet bag.  If this won't work I have read that one can turn and old wool sweater into a wet bag.  Things like old fleece blankets will also work.  The best thing to do if money is not a problem is the buy two large wet bags and one small one for the diaper bag.  I love hanging diaper pails, so I am working on my own design to start selling these.  For the diaper bag a drawstring or zipper work well. 

Cloth wipes seem crazy at first.  For one thing, the price for about ten wipes was close to fifteen dollars and I could not imagine only needing ten in one day.  I wanted something like forty around.  Maybe twenty five would do.  I found and old flannel sheet and cut it up using an actual Pampers wipe for the sizing.  I used a zigzag cut so I would not have to sew them all.  Then I looked up wipe solutions ideas on the internet and found one can add a drop of baby soap to water and put wipes in a box of some kind to use and then wash with the diapers on laundry day.  I kept up with this for a few weeks, but then I got sick of it and bought wipes.  It would be easier to have wet wipes around for car trips and much more.  Then I learned about having some kind of wipe solution in a spray bottle.  One can travel with dry wipes and have nice smelling water around to use during diaper changes.  Everything can go in the wash this time.  I admit, I still like having just wet wipes in my diaper bag, but this system does work well.  Plus, cloth wipes are stronger than wet wipes.  Also, the wipes one buys are often two sided and one only need one to two wipes for a messy diaper.

Boosters, diaper liners, and all that stuff can make very little sense to a new cloth diaper person.  I had a friend who showed me a pocket diaper.  She stuffed it with two inserts, then placed a liner one could flush down the toilet on top.  It sounds simple, but I remember thinking, this is so much work for each diaper change.  I had two kids in diapers at the time.  All these extra work for different needs, but on does not need them at first.  Start simple and if you notice, my baby is soaked, consider a hemp booster.  When baby starts eating solid food, maybe having a liner to flush down the toilet will be less stressful than trying to get solid waste off the diaper. 

Cloth diapering can be just as easy as regular diapering.  Yes, one needs to add in some more laundry.  Poop does not just disappear.  However, if one makes a cloth diaper washing schedule, there are always diapers around.  Husbands will not find themselves driving to the store at 10 PM because all the diapers are gone.  I have enjoyed picking out my diapers and learning to make my own.  Let's face it, diaper changes a never super fun, but they aren't that difficult either. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

AIO or Fitted Diapers With Covers?

There are so many different kinds of cloth diapers around.  One hears about all in ones, two in ones, prefolds, flats, and diapers that are cute and leak without a cover.  Most people don't want to try out every system to figure it all out.  I would not have tried everything I could think of if I had only had a few kids, but I have had up to three kids in diapers at the same time and one needs to find the diapers that work best for this situation.

The AIO diaper is super easy.  If I did not want to stuff diapers, then this is a good system.  You put the diaper on and you are ready to go.  With an older baby, getting solid waste of these diapers is not super fun, but most of the time one can shake it into the potty and be done.  I sometime use a liner made of hemp so it soaks up more liquid and I can just take that and shake solid waste into the potty.  I know one can buy liners that flush down the toilet, but I have not found much data on if that works well with a septic, plus it is added cost.  Why would one not like AIO cloth diapers?  They take more time to dry.  That is the main difference for us.  I gave into the dryer time because my husband I have so many diapers to change it is nice for everything to be ready to go.

The cover and fitted diaper combination is another favorite of mine.  I love this system because the fitted diaper has elastic and so does the cover, so the chances of a mess are rare.  Even with an infant I did not have blowouts.  These diapers can be dried a bit faster on high heat and one does not need a cover for each diaper.  I have made it with two to four covers using this system.  The down side, you have an extra set of Velcro or snaps to deal with.  This is not that big of deal of course.  Also, if one wants to use a ruffle cover it could last longer than one diaper cover.  I loved using ruffle diapers under my baby girl's dresses.  Sometimes they even matched.

I am not making pocket diapers because I myself got sick of stuffing diapers, but this system can work like the fitted and covers, only one needs a cover for every insert.  One can use extra inserts for a baby that gets too wet.  Prefolds also work as inserts.  It can work well for many families.  I would rather lay a booster in an AIO or a fitted diaper for long car trips and nights.

If I ever find time to knit, I would like to make some wool covers.  These were great with an infant because they kept my baby very dry and the fit was perfect.  Some PUL covers are too bulky with a tiny baby.  One can also make covers out of old wool sweaters.  I have seen some really cute wool covers on different websites.

Really, the best system is up to the buyer.  The cheapest way to cloth diaper is to buy 2-4 covers and 12-24 prefolds and the system that requires little work is the AIO cloth diaper system.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How To Wash RubyRumps

Why not just wash the diapers the way one washes everything else?  I suppose one could look at diaper washing this way, but the life of the diapers might be shortened along with the absorbency.  Since diapers, unlike clothing, are holding in liquid and solids, it is good to take good care of them.

Never use detergent with dyes or perfumes.  Bleach will take away strength from the cloth fibers.  Don't use rash creams that are not cloth diaper approved because oils and creams can coat diapers causing them to leak.  These are just a few things to think about.

Picking out a soap for cloth diapers is easy.  It may seem like a hassle to consider buying laundry soap over the internet, so if you just want to buy something from the grocery store when you are out shopping, consider Tide free and clear.  This is the basic go to soap I see recommended for cloth diapers.  I have been using Allen's Naturally for a few years now and I also started using The Honest Company laundry soap on my diapers.  Both of these soaps have worked great.  For a special treat I have bought Rockin Green soap because it smells amazing, can strip the diapers of odors, and has different mixes depending on what type of water one is dealing with.  I live somewhere with hard water and found hard rock soap to be great for my diapers.  There are many brands of cloth diaper soaps.  Try to pick something that is simple.  I am only giving a few suggestions.

I usually put my diapers on a cold soak cycle before washing them.  This gets rid of everything on the diapers.  Then I add soap and put my diapers on a hot wash/ cold rinse cycle.  Often it is worth it to rinse the diapers again.  If there are any bubble in the wash, rinse again.  Diapers are absorbent and too much soap can lead to rashes.  If there are always bubbles use a little less soap.  Then to making drying take a little less time consider an extra spin cycle to get rid of excess moisture.  Don't expect diapers to dry super fast unless you live somewhere hot and dry.  In WA I have left my diapers out to drip dry all night and they are still wet.  I takes me about 2 hours to dry my diapers on medium heat.

If you buy AIO (all in one) diapers, one cannot dry the diapers on high heat.  If you buy fitted diapers and covers one can dry the diapers on high heat and then add the covers in at the end for about 15 minutes on medium heat.  High heat will eventually damage the PUL on the diaper (with PUL attached) or diaper cover.

When one first purchase AIO diapers or Fitted diapers, wash 3-5 times to make sure diapers are most absorbent.  Hemp/Cotton, will shrink a little bit, but should not change the size of your diapers much. 

If your diapers start to smell, then it is time to strip them.  One can use Rockin Green soap (they have instructions) or consider oxygen bleach in the soak cycle.  One can soak diapers for a few hours.  Try not to soak AIO diapers too long though. 

Stains are part of a diaper's life.  One can put diapers out in the sun right after washing them to try and get rid of stains.  Some people even add a little lemon water.  With hemp/cotton, stains will absorb into the fabric a bit more than with fleece.  

When baby is not eating solid food, on can just wash the diapers, but once the poop is mixed with food, put in the the toilet.  Get a diaper sprayer or just scrape it into the toilet. 

Remember, diapers are in investment and worth taking good care of.  Good luck.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Process

Sewing Station- in the corner of my living room

What does the inside of an AIO or fitted diaper look like?
One extra layer of organic hemp/cotton fleece and 6 layers of organic hemp/cotton jersey.

Fun styles and colors

Finishing diapers
The final result

My first big order is complete!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How Many Diapers?

I have read answers to the question of how many cloth diapers to buy on many cloth diapering websites.  Some companies recommend between 6-36 cloth diapers.  Everyone views the number of diapers in the cloth diaper stash differently.  I myself have usually tried to have between 12-18 cloth diapers at one time.  With my last newborn I made a bunch of diapers and had 24 newborn diapers to work with.

In my experience, I do not want to wash my diapers everyday, but I do want to wash them no more than every third day.  While washing my diapers I like to have about three diapers left so that I can make it through the whole wash and dry process.  Five diapers, instead of three, is ideal because littler babies tend to need changing more frequently.

The age of the baby really determines how many diapers one needs.  A newborn needs more, or one needs to wash them more.  I started with eight homemade diapers and two covers.  I made it through most of the day in cloth, switched to paper diapers at night.  These eight diapers got washed everyday until my tiny baby fit into my bigger stash of one sized diapers.  I owned 18 of these.  This was a good number because they fit in my basket and I got away with about two days worth of diapers.  Sometimes I had to wash the diapers every day and half, but as baby got older I made it two days plus the diapers I needed to change baby while washing the rest of the diapers.

Sometimes I would love to go a week without washing the diapers, but I don't really have the space to store that many diapers.  Even when I had two babies in cloth diapers I used around 18 cloth diapers and washed them more. 

As one can see, the amount of cloth around is based on many factors.  If cloth diapering is something one just wants to try out, just get six AIO (all in one) diapers or six fitted diapers with two covers.  Some people want a cloth diaper stash for the diaper bag and home.  Try to get 18- 24 AIO diapers, or 18-24 fitted diapers and 4-6 covers.  12 AIO or 12 fitted diapers with 4 covers is the minimum to try full time cloth diapering in my opinion.

Consider what makes life easier for you.  Think about having 10-12 diapers for each day and pick your number based on that.   Also, one load of cloth diaper laundry is 24 diapers, fitted or AIO.