19 answers

Cloth Diapers? - Suffolk,VA

I am expecting with my first child. I very much want to use cloth or hybrid diapers for environmental reasons; however, I find myself completely terrified at the prospect of it. I was initially thinking I would try gDiapers because I thought that would be a good compromise. Now, I am also looking at Bum Genius. My concern is how much more difficult is it to use these diapers than disposable? Like I said, this is my first time, and I have a lot to learn. I have some pretty basic concerns, including, but not limited to: how do I store the dirty diapers before cleaning, how much do I really have to clean them off before actually washing them, how long does all this take, are they really better for the baby, how many do you really need, and ultimately, is all this extra effort really worth it? I know I will be juggling a lot of new responsibilities along with my current demanding responsibilities, so I just want to make sure this is something that is possible and worth it. All of my friends with children use or used disposables, so they are absolutely no help on this front. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Thanks,
H.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I want to thank all of you ladies for providing me with such great information! I really do appreciate it! While I can't tell you the ultimate outcome since the baby is not yet here, I can tell you what my plans are. Based on your suggestions, I will likely buy a variety of different types of cloth diapers to try out, and see what works best for the baby. I also am going to look into investing in one of those spray nozzles that attaches to the toilet for help in cleaning. I know a few of you suggested I could dunk it in the toilet, but I have low flow toilets, and quite honestly, just the tip end would even get wet. It was also suggested that I wait a couple of weeks after the baby was born to make the transition into cloth, so I will probably go the disposable diaper route until the umbilical cord falls off. I haven't yet been able to locate a diaper service in my area, which I can't say is all that surprising given that this is the first week curbside recycling has even been available here (and it cost $12 a month, whereas trash pickup is free). So the plan now is I will clean them - hopefully, it is as easy as you say! Thanks again for all of your help and support!

Featured Answers

I have loved cloth diapering. My favorites are the bum genius and I use the bum genius diaper detergent. I order it from cottonbabies.com along with the diapers. I did the math and it doesn't cost anymore to do the laundry with the diaper detergent so it just made sense. When my son was breast feeding I was using pocket diapers so I pulled the inserts out and threw them just as they were into a washable water proof bag (also from cottonbabies.com) then I wash the bag when I was the diapers and nothing builds up smell. Now that he eats solid food and does solid poops I would dump them out into the toilet before putting them in the diaper bag. Even if you are using disposables you are supposed to flush the poop so that the waste is handled through the sewage treatment plant, although most people dont do this.

I have saved so much money by using cloth diapers. I started cloth diapering when my son was 2 months old and not making quite as many poops so my stash has only ever been 24 diapers. I have a smaller washable waterproof bag to keep in my diaper bag for the dirty diapers when I change him when we are out. I do occasionally put my son in disposables for convenience but I dont feel bad about it becuase 99% of the time he is in cloth.

My husband and babysitters have never had any problem with the bum genius diapers. After I wash the diapers I stuff all the inserts back into them and then they are ready to go. When a diaper change happens I just grab one off of the shelf and put it on. I have saved about $1500 on diapers by my calculations.

I also just wash all the diapers myself in my washer and dryer. They come with wash instructions. It is really easy and I am so glad that I have done it. I am looking forward to my second child so I can get a fresh stash of diapers and do it all again!

1 mom found this helpful

It was 12 years ago but I recall it being no big issue at all. I put the dirty diapers (poop and all) into a diaper pail (lined with a washable/reusable bag). When the stack of diapers (about 20 - 30) was down I soaked them in the washer in hot water and Bac Out. Then ran the regular wash cycle. It was worth it to me.

More Answers

bum genious will be very easy as far as using them. you put them on, thats it.

you need a diaper pail, no lid is actually better. you will be washing diapers either every day or every other day. not only because thats how many diapers babies us, but because most people cant afford 70 diapers for a weeks worth. most likely you can buy 2 days and wash when you are down to a few left. you throw them in, when you are ready you cold rinse, wash once with detergent and hot, once with no detergent, and one extra rinse. if you have good water, you may not have to do both wash cycles.

are you breastfeeding? if so, you really have to do nothing, the poop just rinses completely. if you formula feed or once you start solids, get a diaper spayer, they are super easy to hook up. you just rinse off the poop with the sprayer as much as you can, and put it in the pail. you may want to spray them with something like BAC OUT but when you wash enough, poop smell doesnt exist. i dont. the actual time of cleaning a diaper takes one minute, but this is only for solid poop after eating solids. pee goes right in pail. your only extra time is doing the laundry, thats it. if you are out, you put them in a wetbag and take care of them when you get home. if your baby has formed stools, they will just fall into the toilet, no work at all.

for some sensitive babies they are better, they let babies learn the feeling of wetness sooner. you just have to make sure to change as much as you can, hopefully not leaving a baby in a wet diaper. i would say you need 20 diapers, but in the beginning will do washings daily. as your baby gets older, they use less so you wont wash as much. one size can save money since they can last the entire time, but they are bulkier on little babies. i personally dont think g diapers are worth it. they end up costing quite a bit over the long haul, and people seem to use them but then end up with disposables. they are too close.

if you care about the environment and are saddened that diapers may take up to 500 years to break down, its worth it. if you read pampers labels, you arent even supposed to put the poop in the garbage in a disposable, says right on it. diapers make up like 3% of all landfill waste, but the first diapers ever are still there. every diaper you dont use helps the environment for your kids and grandkids. if you find your are overwhelmed in the beginning, take a break and regroup around 3 months. if you cant do it at night, dont. if you want to start for a month only in your house, go for it. any diaper is a help. if you can just get in a washing routine, you are fine, that is the only thing that is more work, but i believe helping the planet is worth it.

and look into cloth wipes and never buy disposable swim diapers. even this would help a great deal

3 moms found this helpful

BG are as easy to use as sposies. You just have some wash to do. It's no big deal. I bought a large garbage can at Target, bought a large wet/dry bag, adn I just throw the diapers in there, and at the end of the day, I throw them in the washing machine (cold rinse, hot wash, extra rinse).

If your diapers start to stink when pee hits them, that means you are using too much detergent. Use a good detergent, like Rockin Green.

You don't have to clean them off until you start them on solids, and then, you'd have to clean out the sposie anyway (human waste is not suppose to go into our landfills!)

You will save a fortune, and it really isn't much more work.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi H. -
We have used cloth for both of our kids and most of our friends use cloth too. The diapers you use will depend on your baby and your laundry as well as preference and cost, so there is no one size fits all. I would look at diaperswappers.com, diaperpin.com, and the mothering.com boards to get more information and ideas about the different types of diapers and washing systems. We use fitted diapers and covers or all in ones and really love them. It's easy, we rarely if ever have accidents, and the laundry is no big deal. There may be a store close to you - we have an online one who is local in Northern VA - Stephanie at Abby'slane.com - who is a really great resource. When we were first looking into cloth, DH and I went over to her house and she gave us a Cloth 101 to help us figure out how it all works. I'm more than happy to share more - just let me know!
L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.,
You can do it! It seems scary at first but it's really not that bad....and this coming from a person who hates laundry! Plus you save so much money. I used gdiapers with flushable inserts with my first (which I still really like for the versatility of being able to use cloth and disposable in the same diaper), but for my son I decided to go full cloth. So with him I now use cloth inserts (prefolds and gcloth) in my gdiapers, and also pocket diapers (fuzzi bunz) and fitted diapers with covers. It's good to try a bunch of different diapers out first before you find something that you like. There are places online that do diaper trials where you try them out. You then keep what you like and return what you don't.

There is lots of info on the web. The following sites are some of my favorites for getting started:

http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/basics.htm

http://www.diaperjungle.com/index.html

http://www.nappyshoppe.com/store/index.php?main_page=page...

Honestly I think the best thing you can do is first watch this cloth diapering video tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/user/JaimeeGleisner#g/a

It's in 7 short video installments (approx 30 minutes total), but it's from a MD woman who does cloth diapering workshops and she goes over the different types of diapers, how much you'd need of each, the cost, laundering, diapering accessories, terminology, etc. It's a nice compilation and I direct anybody considering cloth diapering to watch it first. It'll give you some place to start and I wish I'd seen it first when I started out.

Take care and enjoy cloth diapering!
M.

1 mom found this helpful

I have loved cloth diapering. My favorites are the bum genius and I use the bum genius diaper detergent. I order it from cottonbabies.com along with the diapers. I did the math and it doesn't cost anymore to do the laundry with the diaper detergent so it just made sense. When my son was breast feeding I was using pocket diapers so I pulled the inserts out and threw them just as they were into a washable water proof bag (also from cottonbabies.com) then I wash the bag when I was the diapers and nothing builds up smell. Now that he eats solid food and does solid poops I would dump them out into the toilet before putting them in the diaper bag. Even if you are using disposables you are supposed to flush the poop so that the waste is handled through the sewage treatment plant, although most people dont do this.

I have saved so much money by using cloth diapers. I started cloth diapering when my son was 2 months old and not making quite as many poops so my stash has only ever been 24 diapers. I have a smaller washable waterproof bag to keep in my diaper bag for the dirty diapers when I change him when we are out. I do occasionally put my son in disposables for convenience but I dont feel bad about it becuase 99% of the time he is in cloth.

My husband and babysitters have never had any problem with the bum genius diapers. After I wash the diapers I stuff all the inserts back into them and then they are ready to go. When a diaper change happens I just grab one off of the shelf and put it on. I have saved about $1500 on diapers by my calculations.

I also just wash all the diapers myself in my washer and dryer. They come with wash instructions. It is really easy and I am so glad that I have done it. I am looking forward to my second child so I can get a fresh stash of diapers and do it all again!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.,

I just started CDing with my third child when she was 5 months old. I too was terrified but now wish I had started with my first. I really do NOT find it any more difficult that using disposables. I purchased a couple of 'wet bags' that keep the mess in, and put my dirty diapers in there. I also got a diaper sprayer that is like a shower head attached to your toilet.....it's a power blast that gets all the poop off. I wash every other day or every two days, depending on how fast she goes through her diapers. I do a short cold wash (30 min), and longer hot wash (about an hour) than an extra warm rinse (30 min). I then dry them all in the dryer for an hour or line dry (which sometimes is done in 30 minutes) I second contacting Stephanie at Abbyslane.com. She is local and has tons of info. I also did a diaper trial with diaperdaisy.com to see what worked best for my baby and for me. My fears were poop (which totally comes off with the sprayer) and nighttime leaks...my baby sleeps 12+ hours in a bumgenius with an added insert and we've never had a leak! The only 'problem' I have is how many cute diapers there are and my budget LOL.

1 mom found this helpful

I used cloth for both of mine and it amounted to about 2 extra loads of laundry per week. They are 9 and 12 now and I still have some of the diapers left which are very handy for spills, drying the car after washing, etc. You will need to find a high quality diaper, I found chinese cotton prefolds to be the best and used a cover that was cotton with polyurathane between the layers and had velcro enclosures. I still have the tiny newborn wraps which my daughter uses on her stuffed animals and dolls. The brand I used was called cot'n wrap. The only downside on them would be that eventually the velcro would not hold as well and so I would use a mitten clip to hold it. I had a covered bin for soiled diapers. While traveling or on outtings, I would carry large ziploc bags to put the dirty ones in. You can either hold the soiled diaper in the toilet by the edge and then flush, letting the water do the work for you, or you can use a select-a-size paper towel to line the diapers with. It all sounds like a big deal but like I said before, it really just comes down to 2 extra loads a week. As long as you have plenty of diapers that are high quality and additional wraps it is not a huge deal and really makes an impact on the environment and your pocketbook. After the initial investment you no longer have that expense, which is huge if you have priced diapers. I would recomment using disposables for the first couple of days until the meconium poop passes as that stuff is like tar and stains horribly. Chances are someone will give you some disposables anyway. Look online for anything else you need and feel free to pick my brain as well. Good luck and good choice!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.,

I started using cloth diapers about 4 mos ago, when baby #2 was about 9 mos old. I really love it, thanks in large part due to experimenting with different diapers before purchasing a specific brand. There's a website called www.cutecaboose.com where you can get a trial package of MANY different types of diapers to see what works best for you (if any) before you commit to buying a bunch of one kind. For me, I was so sure that I was going to go with bumGenius, but when I tried them they did not work as well for my guy as FuzziBunz and Thirsties.

Whatever you do not use of the trial package you mail back, and you will get a refund or credit for everything (less a $10 processing fee.) This was a really great way for me to see what worked well. I believe shipping is free as well.

1 mom found this helpful

oh, good for you! don't be terrified! this is no more scary than all the other stuff to be terrified about with your first baby<G>. you have made a terrific decision. get a good diaper pail (the size of a medium kitchen trash can is probably best), a quick rinse or scrape into the toilet will suffice for pre-laundry cleaning, it takes a little longer than disposable but it's SUCH A GOOD THING and if you do it from the beginning you'll never notice, right? they are somewhat better for baby and enormously better for her world, you'll need about 3 or 4 dozen, and yes, it's so very worth it.
oh, and make sure to use fragrance-free detergent, and no fabric softener.
you rock.
:) khairete
S.

1 mom found this helpful

H.,
You have lots of great info. from the other moms. I wanted to add that I cloth diapered and used Modern Diaper service. The go all over the DC area. Don't know if they come to your area. They are easy, if you don't want to wash your own diapers. They have diaper covers that they sell as well.
Just a thought.
L.

It was 12 years ago but I recall it being no big issue at all. I put the dirty diapers (poop and all) into a diaper pail (lined with a washable/reusable bag). When the stack of diapers (about 20 - 30) was down I soaked them in the washer in hot water and Bac Out. Then ran the regular wash cycle. It was worth it to me.

It's easy and worth it, but you already have enough people telling you about that ;)
As kind of an aside, try looking into potty training (also called EC) from the start. We are conditioned in this country to not start for years AFTER our children have become conditioned to diapers, and then wonder why they fight it so much. My daughter was fully potty trained just after turning 2 and sleeping through the night dry just after turning three, and my son was peeing on cue at 51/2 months. For a little (yes, I did say 'little) bit of extra effort in the beginning, it makes it MUCH easier in the long run, and completely worth it. Especially if you're doing the cloth route, it's nice to have it over with sooner. Check these out:
http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/
http://www.freewebs.com/freetoec/
Really, you can find a lot of resources and info by googling 'Elimination communication.' I read the book 'The Diaper Free Baby' and it gave me a bit of direction and insight about how to start the process early. I don't exclusively follow EC, but it DOES help for less mess and to get my children used to the potty from the start.
Please also know, I am not some weird parent that raises my child on new crazy philosophies. I am a traditionalist in every other way, I just like that this way I clean up less poop. Who wouldn't like that? :)

Okay, so you don't need all the fancy shamcy all-in-ones or fitted diapers. Unless you find you actually really like them (and can afford them lol!). Just get some pre-folds (about 2 dozen or so for every 2nd day washing, depends on kid of course). Nickisdiapers.com has a brand called Imagine and I absolutely love them (I have a pretty heavy wetter). This also depends on age by the way. Newer babies will most likely need to be changed more often so maybe go with 3 dozen. Anyway back to my list, get some covers: I'll tell you what has worked great for me. Thirsties, Mother-ease, Geny, Disana, Stacinator so simple. Just shop around ! Another very cool site is Abby's Lane. As far as dirty storage goes, I just use a plastic bucket like thingy from Rubbermaid with a Whammies pail liner. I do a dry pail. If you are breastfeeding there's no need to pre-rinse cause bf poop is water soluble. Borax def. helps boost the detergent ( I use Tide with no dyes or perfumes). Remember NOT to use fabric softener 'cause it will lessen the absorbancy of the diapers. You also might want/need to get some doublers if you find you have a heavy wetter. Can't really think of anything else to tell ya ( it's late and I'm getting loopy lol!). If you have any other questions or I didn't cover all that you wanted to know feel free to ask me! Cloth is so cute, I hope you don't get overwhelmed cause it can be quite confusing.

G-diapers didn't work out for us b/c of leaks but I've heard others have had success. WE LOVED BUMGENIUS, however. I always used those thin paper-like diaper liners (which you can buy on the website for Kushies diapers) inside to keep the poop from setting in to the cloth. All you do is lift out the liner, toss the whole thing in toilet (or trash, if you have to) and let it sit a few minutes before flushing. Whenever a stain did reach the diaper I would line dry them and let the sun remove the stain (worked every time). Check out www.diaperpin.com for tips. I used several different brands. Bumgenius may not have been the absolute softest, cutest, or even best in terms of leak protection but for I found them to have the right balance of ease of use, dependability, and right price. They do seem expensive but compared to other all in ones and pocket dipes they are reasonable. Make sure you check Craigslist.com or Ebay for used diapers because some people decide after a few months it's not for them, and you can get very gently used dipes for half price.

I began CDing my son when he was about 6 months old, and now we're planning to start with Baby #2 (due in Sept.) from the very beginning. CDing is not really any more complicated than using disposables - the worst part is finding the best diapers that work for you, and you can always switch it up. I own about 4 of probably 8 different kinds of diapers! Bum Genius, Fuzzi Bunz, and that type of pocket or all-in-one diaper is really easy to use - they're just like disposables.

How do I store the dirty diapers before cleaning?
-- I just have a covered trash can that I put the diapers in. I know some of my CDing friends fill the trash can or pail with water, some even add Borax powder. You can decide what works for you (I just throw them into a dry can and make sure to wash them every couple of days). For when you're out of the house, you can use a plastic bag, or get more creative (I bought some really cute wet bags off of amazon.com) to store them in until you get home.

How much do I really have to clean them off before actually washing them?
-- If you breastfeed, the poos will be pretty soft and watery so you probably won't have to do as much cleaning. For formula or solids, I dump the poo in the toilet. If some sticks, I have a "poop spatula" that I keep next to the toilet to scrape off excess. I know that Bum Genius sells a power sprayer to hook up to the toilet to spray off extra instead of the poop spatula. Then I put the diaper in a pail filled with water (again, some people have recommended adding Borax to the water - it's up to you) and let them sit a while. That's it. You don't have to clean pee off at all.

How long does all this take?
-- Not counting doing the laundry, it takes a couple of minutes.

Are they really better for the baby?
-- This is up to you to decide. Disposable diapers have up to 200 different chemicals in them, and those are resting right next to your baby's skin. Many babies react to them (I have several friends who had to switch to cloth because their children were allergic to disposables). My son, however, never had any problems with any types of disposables or cloth. His skin just isn't that sensitive to it. I don't like the chemicals in disposable diapers, and so when I do use them, I make sure I use a bleach- and perfume-free diaper such as Earth's Best. For me, it's more about the environment.

How many do you really need?
-- I think I have about 16 diapers? And I do laundry every 2 days. You'll need a couple more when your little one is tiny because breastfed newborns tend to poop every couple of hours.

Ultimately, is all this extra effort really worth it?
-- I don't really think it is that much more effort, actually. Once you've got the diapers, you're done. You don't have to rush out to Walmart because you forgot that you used the last diaper earlier that day. The laundry load is pretty easy - Every 2-3 days, I have less than half a load of laundry to run - my son's clothing takes up a lot more time! The money is also worth it. You spend a lot more up front, but my husband and I did the math and I think it took us about 8 months to break even. Since we'll be using these diapers with Baby #2, also, now I know we've saved money!

I love cloth diapering. I have fun shopping for different covers (I prefer to use fitteds with covers, but that gets slight more complicated), I feel better about how I'm contributing to the environment, and in general, I don't find cloth diapering stressful at all. If you are really worried about it, though, you can buy a couple of cloth diapers and then buy a pack of disposables to use when you just get overwhelmed. I'm not sure how I would have handled CDing my new son from the beginning. Now that I know what I'm doing, though, I'm very confident that I won't have trouble with Baby #2. Good luck, and I'd be happy to answer any other questions you have in a PM.

PS I have heard good things about Kelly's Closet. Apparently, they let you do trials? I haven't used them, but I've seen them recommended a lot, so you might check them out. Good luck.

You are a brave person for wanting to do this. Couple of things to think about:

1. Consider a diaper service. They will come and pick up the diapers and bring you clean ones. This way you don't have to do all the work. They will probably be able to help answer some of these questions, like storage of dirty diapers and how much to clean them before storage.

2. Chances are the hospital is going to use disposable diapers (assuming your planning to give birth in a hospital) so you may start out with disposable anyway. Couple of things-- First, you may want to use the disposable newborn ones until the umbilical cord falls off. The newborn disposable diapers actually have a notch for around the umbilical cord stub. That is helpful. It doesn't take long for that to fall off. Second, depending on how the delivery goes and breastfeeding goes (assuming you are going to do this, as well) you may want to cut yourself some slack and plan to use disposable for 6 weeks or 2 months and then switch once you are better adjusted. What ever you decide remember that you may have to adjust at the last minute! Babies come with their own agendas!

For example, I planned to breastfeed. I was completely into it. I didn't have any bottles, nipples -- nothing to distract from breastfeeding -- in the house. The first night home from the hospital my daughter (me first child) peed bright orange, and small white crystals. This can be a sign a serious kidney problem, which I didn't know at the time. I just knew this wasn't right. I called the pediatrician and he told me to push fluids, lots of them and call him back when she peed next. How do you puch fluids when your delivered 5 days ago? I didn't have enough milk for this. Luckily similac had sent us samples of sterilized nipples and formula all ready to use just like the hospitals use. My husband had set them aside. I didn't even know we had them. We opened that box and start using them. She drank 4 - 6 onces right in a row! She was really hungry. Turns out I had little to no milk and that I have a hormone problem that doesn't let me make much milk. We had to go out and get bottles and formula and stuff the next day. I felt like the worst mother ever and that I had already failed as a parent and my daugther wasn't even a week old! (15.5 hours of induced labor and an emergency c-section makes one not too rational for weeks; or maybe that is just giving birth period, or maybe it is just me -- I dont' know)

The point is, things change. You need to be willing to adapt.

BTW-- I friend of mine did use cloth diapers for awhile and she did use a service. Good Luck! Check out the real diaper industry association online for more info.

I say if you have the time...do it, it's better for the environment. Back when I was a SAHM, it was all about curbing the wallet. Nowadays, it's about not leaving such a big carbon print. I breastfed my babies, they had cloth diapers and I made food. If you don't send them out for a laundry service, you can always hand wash them yourself. A little borax to help with the dreft will help cut out staining. Also, dreft has a laundry spray. You would be washing diapers everyday if you do it yourself. If you go this route, remember that the good times to do your chores are anytime before 2pm or after 7pm...any time in between is high time for them to jack up your energy bills. If I'm not mistaken, they went through about 12-14 per day.

Look up diaper services in your area. They take care of just about everything. You just have a bucket or some other container of a bleach solution on your front porch (which they provide). You scrape solid waste into the toilet, then toss the diaper into the container. They pick it up every so often and leave you with a stack of clean diapers.

I have 6 children-aged 15 through 37 and I entirely cloth diapered all of them. Ok, disposables only became readily available with the birth of my 4th, now 29, but I wouldn't have been able to afford them anyway. When my 4th was born, #3 wasn't yet 2years old, so still in diapers full time, and #2 was only 3 and still in diapers at night. Lots of diapers to wash, but I can't say that it was stressful. Don't be terrified...save that for when he's a teenager! LOL!
As with everything today, there must be hundreds of "fru-fru" choices to waste your money on. I can't see any reason to buy fancy ones, considering what they are used for. I would recommend buying 3 dozen pre-folded Gerber diapers from Target, (about $55 total), a dozen appropriately sized Gerber plastic pants (buy 6 small and 6 next size up) to put over them, a package of diaper pins and a bar of ivory soap to stick the pins in. For about $100 start-up you're good to go for at least 6 -9 months. At some point you'll have to get larger size plastic pants, but that output is minimal. You will have to buy another dozen or two before potty training, but really, the money saved will be tremendous. I quess they don't make diaper pails anymore, but that's what I used. Any pail with a cover will work. I put a cup full of Dreft with hot water and soaked the diapers until laundering. I simply swished them in the toilet to rinse fecal matter before putting in diaper pail. No need to rinse urine soaked ones. To launder, (every third day approx), I simply dumped the whole mess into the washer, using the rinse cycle, filled it with hot water, and let it spin out. Next, if you have a prewash on your machine, you can use it, or you could run two cycles, the first being a wash and the second being the rinse. I had no dryer back when the first 4 were born, so line drying was my only choice. I would have thought I died and went to heaven if I had had a dryer. I did have one with the last two, 18 and 15 now. I would have used OxyClean as an additive if it had been available at the time.
Best of luck.

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