Adventures in cloth diapering

With DC1 we got a gift of newborn-size g-diapers.  They were a pain to use and leaked.  So we didn’t use them.

We flirted with cloth diapering more in earnest around the time to start potty training.  On the recommendation of a friend, we used Fuzzibunz pocket diapers, size medium.  We had 6 of them and used them pretty much on weekends (since we didn’t want to bother daycare) and sometimes evenings.  When DC1 was completely potty trained during the day and had grown out of the mediums, we bought 3 size larges for night and some insert doublers.

Fuzzibunz were ok.  A bit of a hassle compared to disposables, but not too bad.  We swore we would cloth diaper DC2, but only after poo got solid.  It is much easier to remove solid poo.

Fast forward several years.  And me being sick of emergency late-night Target runs, but unable to buy in bulk because DC2 grows out of a diaper sizes in an unpredictable manner.  (We seem to have settled on size 2 for a while at this point, but who knows how long it will last.)  I figured if we had some cloth diapers in reserve, we could at least wait until morning to run out to the store.

Cloth diapering technology has improved dramatically.  After a bit of internet research, we decided on BumGenius All-in-one (organic, though really I just cared about the AIO part).  These are one size fits all by way of an ingenious snap system.  Instead of being pocket diapers, they have two layers of inserts sewn on the inside, but in order to enable relatively fast drying (80 min in the dryer in our experience), they’re only sewn on the top and bottom edges of the insert/diaper and there’s space between the diaper and the insert while washing and drying.  Except that snaps are a bit more finicky than velcro (but last longer), they’re really no more difficult than disposables in terms of ease of use.  Even with non-solid poo.  (Though note:  we are breast-milk only so the poo doesn’t smell bad… it might not be this easy with formula poo.)

After use, we throw them in the washing machine.  Once we’re ready to do a full load of laundry (or we run out of cloth), something that happens once every day or two, we rinse them on cold.  Then we throw in the rest of the laundry, add soap, and do a regular cycle.  We dry for 60 min, clean out the lint filter and any obviously dry laundry, then dry another 20 min.  Not much more effort than our regular laundry cycle.

I had originally bought 6, just for emergencies, but they were so clever and so nice to use, I got another 6, for a total of 12.  We don’t make the mother’s helpers use them and we don’t use them at night (since we’d rather DC2 sleep than wake us up demanding a diaper change).  So DC2 still goes through ~48 disposables each week, or half a box of the size 2s (ze is ahead on the poo curve on top of being a hearty pee-er).

Anyhow, cloth diapering technology is really amazing these days and it’s gotten much easier to use.

We were not paid for this post and neither Fuzzibunz nor Bum Genius knows we’re alive (if they did, that would be kind of creepy).

Have you or has someone you love tried cloth diapering?  How did that work out?  Any favorite brands or tips?  (Alternatively, have you ever wondered why parents with young kids talk about poo all the time?)

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23 Responses to “Adventures in cloth diapering”

  1. Dr. O Says:

    Daycare was the main reason we didn’t cloth diaper. That, and we heard from a couple of sources that the differences in environmental effects were negligible if you used a service (which we would have; I wasn’t sure I could handle washing poo diapers – Monkey continued making not very solid ones even after solids, when they got really stinky. Even with sole BFing, he was a very stinky poo baby.)

    Anyhow, I was wondering if you planned to send the cloth diapers to daycare now? Are they easy enough for that? Or does your daycare even take them?ight be something we’ll consider IF there’s a number 2 and IF hir poo is less gross.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Nah, we’re not going to try cloth at daycare.

      I did read up on that though, you need a wet bag in some states.

  2. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    You just leave piles of shitte in the diapers when you put them in the washing machine?

  3. Perpetua Says:

    I used BumGenius for both kids and loved them. I prefer the velcro to the snaps even though the velcro goes bad with time. I have to say, once the baby starts eating solids, my mother’s system is still the best I’ve discovered for washing the poopy – throw the poopy diapers in one of the toilets and then at the end of the day, scrub them out (wearing rubber gloves). It’s actually super easy since they’ve been sitting in water, and not smelly, and not bad for the washer. We bought a toilet attachment that permitted us to spray off the diapers with toilet water, but I have to say that just leaving them in there was cheaper and better. Then we pre-rinse with vinegar and do a regular load with the pre-rinsed diapers and all our other laundry. So it’s not even an extra load.

    Where I live, none of the big daycares will do cloth diapers. (They claim it is a health hazard or somesuch.) We always did nanny-shares and in-home daycare where all we needed was a wetbag. (Wet bags are a must for cloth diapering – they work so beautifully on the go.) I always laugh when I read some feminist blogger going off on how high-labor cloth diapering is. I’m the laziest mom around, and I never found it to be a hassle (except while traveling).

  4. Amanda@LadyScientist Says:

    We’ve cloth diapered Kiddo since he was about 3 days old (now 15 months). We use the Bumgenius 4.0s with snaps, which is a pocket diaper (for the uninitiated it’s like a sleeve with a waterproof outer and a microfleece inner that form a pocket that is stuffed with an absorbent insert). We started out with velcro, but it wasn’t sticking as well once Kiddo was ~7 months old. This coincided with Kiddo becoming more wiggly and ended with the diaper coming undone/leaking. Now we have snaps and that is much better. Daycare doesn’t have any issues with the snaps.

    For daycare we just send in a wet bag (a waterproof bag with a zipper) with clean diapers and at the end of the day we take home the wet bag with dirty diapers. Pee diapers go in the diaper pail (trash can with reusable liner) and poop diapers go in the toilet to soak/be scrubbed. For us cloth diapering hasn’t been labor intensive. In fact, Kiddo never had a blow out with the cloth diapers. Ever. So we missed out on that experience.

    We do use disposables at night because Kiddo is a heavy wetter and I’d rather not have the hassle of cleaning him off every morning. The disposable diapers we use at night are the ones that are billed for use overnight (I think we use Pampers Good Nights or something like that– we only buy a box every 3 months, so I don’t remember). As for why do parents talk about poop so much? I think it’s because babies do a limited number of things and pooping occurs often and in large quantities.

  5. gwinne Says:

    I’m cloth diapering Tiny Boy (after exclusively using disposables for LG; I’d planned on doing that anyway, but she had chronic diarrhea for 7 mo and my goodness cloth would have SUCKED). Had a lot of trouble finding something that fit early on (he wasn’t even fitting well in preemie disposables) but by the time he got to 10 lbs we used primarily (1) Rumparooz lil joeys (probably could have tried them much earlier but didn’t know about them) and (2) Thirsties duo cover and inserts. Started with Bum Genuis Flips at maybe 12 lbs and now that’s what we use most of the time. Yes, even at daycare; there’s another kid in his class who is cloth diapered as well. I might have used the Bum Genius AIOs or pocket diapers if I’d tried them earlier in the process (and not bought a ton of Flips). Flips aren’t so fun for poop removal as they are in two parts… We also use disposables at night, as he drinks a freaking ton and when I tried cloth they leaked…and when I doubled them they were really too fat for him to move!

  6. bogart Says:

    Oof, I left a comment and it seems to have vanished. We cloth-diapered pretty much exclusively except at night or for paid daycare (not allowed; we used decent-but-not-great disposables for night, and cheap-but-not-horrid ones for daycare). We used a gaggle of hand-me-down/gifted fuzzibunz + nurtured family doubled cotton inserts (and a small assortment of other inserts that came with the lot). Except for the very rare occasions when we had rash issues, we would just lay the insert inside the outer but not put it in the pocket; typically, this meant we could use an outer across 2 changes and just change the liner in the middle change.

    We found it simple. I threw everything together in the laundry machine (after rinsing off poop), and we mostly air/line dry. It was no big deal (not that I miss it). Mind you, DS was mostly a once-a-day pooper, which almost certainly simplified things relative to many of the alternatives.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      weird… it isn’t in spam, so I don’t know where it went :/

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That’s a good tip about using the inserts up against the skin. We never thought about doing that.

      We did get some liners this time around but they turned out to be more hassle than they were worth so they’re waiting until the poo gets more noxious.

      • bogart Says:

        I don’t really mean liners, I didn’t end up using those (like you, found them more trouble than worth). I mean the inserts. So the routine (without inserting the insert into the pocket) is — outer + insert … time elapses … change diaper, replacing insert with clean insert and using outer again (if appropriate) … time elapses … change everything, like outer as well as insert this time. Obviously some common sense (wash things that are dirty, reuse things are clean) comes in handy.

        (re: original comment, I suspect I may just have failed to click the submit button, and then closed the window. I tend to have “too many” windows open).

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yeah, I got it. It’s a good idea. Sort of how g-diapers are supposed to work, but less messy.

        I suspect DC2 may pee too much. Ze has a pretty large bladder already.

      • gwinne Says:

        That’s how a Flip works; it’s an stay-dry insert without the pocket, so covers can be reused except when poopy. Many pocket inserts CANNOT go directly against a baby’s skin; if they have microfiber they can cause a chemical burn type reaction.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Ah, maybe there was a warning not to do that with the fuzzibunz… that seems vaguely familiar

  7. Michelle Says:

    I don’t have kids so I don’t cloth diaper :) But I do have many friends who do this and love it!

  8. frugalscholar Says:

    We both worked and had two in cloth diapers. We are lazy people, so it must have been easy. Cloth diapers plus breastfeeding = beginning of college fund.

    • Peggy Polaneczky Says:

      I’ve rinsed and washed more diapers in my years than anyone I know. (Oldest girl of 9 kids, momm’ys little helper…) I used to like folding them. But I have to say my kids were not cloth diapered. Working full time made mlaundering more than once a week pretty near impossible . Plus living in the city using shared washing machines in the basement, it just didn’t seem right to subject the rest of our building to my kids diapers in their washing machines.

      I remember that my younger sister used to like to wear her plastic outerpants on her head as a hat when she was a baby and we all thought that was a hoot!

  9. hush Says:

    We cloth diapered about 1/3rd of the time. BumGenius rocked. Daycare disallowed cloth diapers, so we only ever used a them home. Whenever we traveled, we packed disposables.

    We always cloth diapered for swimming (cloth swim diapers, that is). Also, for early potty learning & training, instead of Pull-Ups, we used padded cotton underwear with a plastic cover. (See the excellent “Diaper Free Before 3″ by Jill Lekovic. MD).

  10. pvcccourses Says:

    We tried cloth diapers back in the Dark Ages, when M’hijito was a bouncing babe. We were hippy-dippy organic back-to-the-Earth types and of course had to go with cloth to uphold our image. We also could afford a diaper service, which despite the fact, known even back then, that cloth diapers are about as hard on the environment as paper, we insisted on.

    Poor little guy got THE worst diaper rash you can imagine!

    As soon as I switched him to Pampers, the rash cleared up. So did my general misery with young motherhood and mess-cleaning.

  11. How to Know When It’s Time to Clean Out the Garage… | Funny about Money Says:

    […] At Grumpy Rumblings, Nicole&Maggie contemplate the timeless question facing parents of newborns: cloth or paper? […]


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