15 answers

Seeking Advice Regarding Cloth Diapers

I'm interested in advice regarding cloth diapers. I'm expecting my first on Nov. 1 and want to research my options regarding diapers. I was only able to find one diaper service in the Chicago area. I'm intimidated by the inconvenience of CD but don't want to give up before I do some research.

Thanks so much!

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I really appreciate all the responses I received regarding CDs. Your enthusiasm for CDs was so encouraging and though I haven't made a final decision yet about what I'm going to use, I"m leaning towards fitted diapers. (Though the idea of a diaper service is tempting.) I appreciate the website suggestions as well as the BeByBaby store suggestions. Thanks again!

More Answers

Hi E.,
I live in the city and cloth diaper my 3-month old, and plan on continuing to do so until he's potty trained. I absolutely love the CDs! Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, there are so many choices these days it's a bit overwhelming.

First choice you need to make is whether you're going to go the diaper service route or wash your own. The thought of washing my own was very intimidating when I started thinking about this, but now that I do a load every 2-3 days (as an aside, you must must have your own washer and dryer to make this work) it is really no big deal at all. I looked into the Dye Dee diaper service and decided it wasn't for me.

If you decide to look further into this, there are a paralyzing number of choices of "diapering systems". A very helpful site is www.diaperpin.com - they have reviews on most of the diapers and "systems" out there. Another helpful site is www.diaperswappers.com. They have a lively forum of parents who CD their kids and are very helpful in answering questions. (One thing you'll notice when you start talking to people who CD is that they are all *very* enthusiastic about "converting the masses").

There are basically 4 types of diapers out there you can buy these days:
1. pocket diapers - a waterproof outside with snaps and a pocket that you stuff with something absorbant. Examples are Happy Hinies, Fuzzy Bunz, Wonderoos. These work well but can get pretty expensive pretty fast. I think they run about $15 for the diaper, plus you need a stuffer.

2. All-in-ones - waterproof outers and the absorbant liner are all one piece. Again, nice diapers, a little spendy.

3. "Fitted" diapers - this is just the cloth part, and you use a separate cover. This is the kind that I use. Aside from the cotton prefolds these are definitely the most economical. They run about $9 each and if you get the "one size" kind (I use "Motherease one-size diapers) then theoretically they'll fit your kid from 8-40 lbs. Ie basically from birth through potty training.

4. Cotton pre-folds - the old fashioned kind that you have to pin (or these days you can use a clever device called a "snappi" instead of a pin). These are definintely the cheapest, but take a little skill to put on. YOu want a cover for these too.

You can get most kinds of diapers used (check diaperswappers or the "motherease forum at www.motherease.com. Ebay also has them, but somehow they tend to be more expensive there. However, if you decide to sell YOUR used diapers that may be a good thing). I know, you're saying "eeeewwww... used diapers?" But most of these diapers are sort of like a Honda - they really retain their resale value quite well. After all, once your kid uses them once, they're "used".

Anyway, I can go on and on, and please don't hesitate to shoot me an email if you'd like some more information.

I should note that I did a 2 week stint with Pampers Swaddlers while we were on vacation last month (no access to laundry facilities) and while they seemed to work ok, both my husband and I were very very happy to go back to the cloth. Also, we have never ever had a "blowout" with our cloth diapers, even with that lovely runny breastfed poop.

Whatever you decide, good luck, and congrats on the coming baby!

K.

PS - Motherease has a "sampler" pack that you can get for about $16. It includes one Motherease one-size diaper, one snap-in liner, and one air-flow cover. This is what really got me hooked on these diapers - it's a great way to test out the product.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.! I have cloth diapered my three kids, and cloth diapering is easy - but deciding which dipaers to use can be confusing and a little intimidating. I found it was especially difficult because most of the really nice diapers are offered only on the internet, and when making such a big decision and an investment, it is really nice to see, feel, and try out the diapers before you purchase them, instead of just seeing pictures of them on the computer. I just started a cloth diaper business in the Chicago area (Crystal Lake) called Sunflower Babies, and I offer free cloth diapering demonstrations, where you can see and feel different styles of diapers, and we go over different ways to fold and wash diapers. It's lots of fun! The class is strictly educational - so there is no pressure or expectation for sales. If you are interested, you can take a look at my website at www.sunflowerbabies.com, or feel free to contact me through Mamasource or at ____@____.com luck with your cloth diapering research, and congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your little one!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, E.! I know you have gotten a lot of advice already, but I am a veteran cloth diaper user. I am currently cloth diapering with my third child. My oldest is 10 and a half, so I have been doing this for over 10years! I have used a variety, and my favorite of all are the Motherease diapers. They are a small company out of Canada with a warehouse in New York. Their customer service is fabulous, and the diapers are even better. I have used prefolds with Nikki covers, and some all in ones before, but now this is my second child using the Motherease diapers. I bought a whole set of Sandy's diapers. I love them because they have elastic around the waist and legs, and they have adjustable snaps to grow with your baby. The best thing about them is that they contain everything! The only times I have had diaper disasters (poop out the back and legs) is with other diapers without these features, or with disposables. I use the snapping covers(Air-Flow) as well, because then there isn't any velcro scratching your babies legs and tummy, like I experienced with my Nikki covers that I had thought were so great. Motherease also has a one-size fits all that is more economical because you can use them for your entire diapering experience. That is an incredible value. They have white diapers, and an unbleached cotton, as well as wipes and doublers. You can order a sample set, diaper and cover to see what they're like, or request swatches. They have a great website.
Just for fun, I also ordered some Kissaluvs because they come in all these beautiful sherbet colors, and are buttery soft when you first buy them,but in time, they are the same terry cloth as they others. Still great though and also with adjustable snaps.You can use the Motherease covers with these as well.
I also use cloth diapers when I'm out of the house. I carry a little duffy sack with me to put wet or soiled diapers in and just bring them home with me.
Feel free to write me with questions if you want.
Gretchen F. Miller ____@____.com

Hi E.

I have to agree with what all the other mamas said... cloth diapers are wonderful, easy and economical. Our daughter potty trained at 20 months. I did the math for the amount we spent on diapers for those 20 months, and it came out to 6 cents a day for diapers (disposables can cost 25 cents per diaper!). Now those same diapers we bought a few years back are getting used again for our son, so the cost is negligible at this point!
I agree that fuzzi bunz are awesome, but in the early weeks, when baby is pooping all the time, a cover and liner may work better (something like a bummis wrap with an insert). That way, you can reuse the covers and just wash the insert. I used plain flatfold diapers (you can get them even at Target) and folded them with a terry cloth insert. It worked great for the early weeks.
I know everyone has been touting the WAHM companies, and I agree -- it's great to give our business to other moms. There is a wonderful new store in Chicago near Lincoln and Roscoe called By By Baby (www.bebybaby.com has store info). It is owned by two local mamas who bring their babes to work with them. They carry so much great stuff for pregnancy, birth, nursing and beyond... slings, cloth diapers, maternity and nursing clothing, wooden toys, etc. That might be a great place for you to start, because you can actually see and feel the diapers and get an idea for how they work. The store also offers a free cloth diapering class... I think there is one today, actually. Also, Sweetpea yoga studio in Ravenswood offers cloth diapering classes, too.
Hope this helps and best of luck to you!

A.

Hi- I've used cloth diapers with my two kids, and have found that personal preference and diaper quality are important. If you can find diapers that are easy to use and absorbent, you can do just fine with cloth. They require a bit more effort than disposables, but to me have been worth it in terms of money (I think I probably spent less than $400 total on diapers for two kids) and for environmental reasons. And truthfully, they are not hard at all. Obviously countless generations of women have done just fine with them. I figured that at some point I would get a bit of poop or pee on my hands, but isn't that what soap and water are for? I personally love the all in one diapers- they are easy to put on and are very absorbent. I have never used a diaper service, mainly because there are none where I live that I am aware of, so I have always washed my own. It is one or two extra loads of laundry per week. A good way to find out about the various kinds of cloth diapers out there is to visit web sites of companies that sell them. I don't know if you are familiar with Mothering Magazine, but their web site and magazine have countless ads for companies that sell all varieties of cloth diapers. It's a great source of information. I hope this information helps.

E.,
We did cloth diapers with my son (they are sooo easy and it makes potty training easier when the time comes - he was trained before he was 2!!). We are expecting our 2nd any day now and plan to cloth diaper this one too.

We did not use a service - just bought cloth diapers from SAHMs who made them, larger companies (basically just tried a whole bunch of different kinds - you can find sooo much on the internet!!). The washing them yourself wasn't bad at all - maybe 1 or 2 extra laundry loads a week. I told myself when my son was born (he's almost 3) that I would do it until it was too gross. It never became gross. It was soooo economical (we spent $200 on cloth diapers in November '03 and maybe a few bucks here and there, but never had to buy anything else!!).

Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am so happy with our decision to use them. I would be happy to talk more with you if you'd like!
B.

I used nikki diaper covers with my first son, and fuzzibunz with my second (they were definitely my favorite). Fuzzibunz were great because they were more convenient than the ordinary covers when traveling, and my son's bottom stayed dry despite a wet diaper (no diaper rash). I could also use old towels as inserts in a jam. Both types of covers meant no pins. They really weren't that bad to clean. I got creative the second time around and used a margarine lid cut in half as a scraper to remove any solid waste before laundering and it was much easier than soaking in the toilet. I also used a vinegar rinse to sanitize and remove any detergent residue.
My favorite source for cloth diapers and diaper covers was:
www.diaperware.com
They use products made by WAHM's and Inge knows how to treat her customers. They even had directions on how to fold a flat diaper (not prefold).
I found the nikki diaper covers at naturalbabycatalog.com.
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me.
A.

Cloth diapers are the best and worth it! Our first baby was born mine months ago and we love it that she tells us when she is wet so she is not sitting there in all of those chemicals and waste. She only gets diaper rash when we use the disposable diapers on rare occasion. The cloth diapers are so useful around the house as well since they serve as burp clothes, cleaning rags, etc. The first 2-3 weeks will be a new experience when you start using them but it will become second nature. I highly recommend them.

Hi E.,

I used cloth diapers with my daughter and loved them! So did my daughter, and it DID make a big difference in potty training. I registered for a bakers dozen for my shower and they served me for her entire first year. I used ones called "Fuzzi Buns" they had snaps and worked rather well. (Never get smalls you'll use them for a minute) After the first year I went to "Happy Hineys" which were adorable because they had a zillion colors and patterns to choose from AND I was able to use the same inserts from the "Fuzzi Buns." While we were waiting for our "Hineys" to be shipped (from Babies Under Wraps, who was great for the first year and then practically abandoned us after we ordered the Hineys because her brother was having some personal crisis and we waited for a month!) we used disposable and they were so expensive because you have to buy them practically every week! My daughter got a rash for the first time in her life with the disposables too. It was a bad experience for us.

I washed the diapers myself but I did a soak cycle with Oxy-Clean first and I did a second rinse. Sometimes I would add vinegar to the wash just to sort of sterilize the whole thing. If you do decide to go this route, or even if you use paper and are just washing your new baby's clothes in the machine, it's always a good idea to "clean" your washing machine every week or so by just running a cycle without clothes and about a cup of vinegar, (like how you clean your coffee maker only with more vinegar) in the long run, it makes a difference.

I suggest you check out these two sites:

www.borntolove/facts.html
They are out of Canada, who are leaps and bounds ahead of America when it comes to cloth.

And:

www.cutofcloth.com
They should give you some good info stateside.

Also, check out Mothering Magazine, you can read back issues on-line, they are a great resource for this issue and many others.

Good luck and maybe we can welcome you to the "fold." ;)

L.

I am a new mom (1 year) and I cloth diaper. My baby has never had a diaper rash and they really are not any more "work" than disposables. I wash them myself and don't find it labor intensive at all (it's just one extra wash cycle).

There are many Yahoo groups for cloth diapering and there is a wealth of information out there. Here some to get you started on your research.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BTLdiapering/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/diaperSWAP2/

You also might like Earth Mama/Angel Baby. I use the diaper rash soap about three times a week as a preventative and my baby has never had a diaper rash or even a red bottom. I like their products because they are organic and healing.

http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/

Good luck to you!

Once you get a system going it's actually easy! There is indeed only one service in the Chicago area (Bottom's Up). We used it and it really helped. You might also want to attend a cloth diapering class. I know Be By Baby (Lincoln & Roscoe/Paulina) holds them. Also, you might want to check out diaperswappers.com for diapers or info. Hope some of this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

Happy diapering!
E.
____@____.com

PS - I have excellent used conditioned diaper covers, wool covers and fuzzi bunz for sale if you're interested. They have no stains and are from a pet & smoke free home.

E.,
I would definitely recommend cloth diapering! It is much easier than it seems at first, and as all others have mentioned, very economical. There is an initial investment, but much cheaper in the long run, especially when you use them for any other children you may have. I did try several different types of covers using flat diapers and found that I too liked the Motherese with the snaps. I found some covers to buy on ebay as well as other online sites. I found it was worth it to invest in "diaper service quality" flat diapers, the ones from Target, etc, were just too flimsy for me. Somewhere online I did find nice fasteners, something like a big plastic ace bandage fastener, I prefered that to pins.
In the first few months when I was only breastfeeding I collected the used diapers in our Diaper Champ (a nice diaper pail for either cloth or disposable that uses regular trash bags) with no rinsing, when it was time to wash I ran them all through a cold rinse cycle then just washed with All Free and Clear. I added equal parts baking soda (to the wash) and vinegar (to the rinse via a downy ball) to freshen and balance pH. The best bleacher for stains is SUN! You can put them outside in nice weather and in a sunny window in winter and they come out incredibly white.
I did not live in the area when I started and did not have the opportunity to take a class (which would have been great), no diaper service anywhere near me at the time, and there are so many new options and alternatives since my mother used cloth diapers, so I did ALOT of research on the internet. But in the end I was so happy with my decision, I hope you will be too! Good Luck!
S.

There are so many options out there are and it can be confusing. I am using some of the same prefolds my Mom used on me and my bro/sis! So they have been through 6 kids, 30 years and still work the same! I use prefolds and wraps. Fold the prefold into thirds, lay the diaper cover/wrap and velcro or snap closed. I prefer velcro for babies because of the adjustability, some babies have fat thighs, small belly or reversed and you just seem to get a better fit. Once the baby is mobile I prefer snaps because they stay on tighter and baby can not rip them off. Once baby figures out how to make the velcro make noise they never stop:) I have a few all in ones, for going out, they are a tad easier to put on (not by much) but when you are juggling 3 other kids every second helps. I bought them with my 4yro just because they didn't have them with my older two and I wanted to try them. I didn't buy anymore for the baby. They take so much longer to dry and you do want to make sure they are absolutley dry otherwise they will mold on the inside. Most days I only go through two covers/wraps. I just alternate on each change, since you can tell right away when they pee they don't get really that wet so you just let one air out while they wear the other. Unlike the all in one you only get one use out of it so much more laundry. Other mom's gave great links, it does seem like a lot of options but once baby is here it all makes sense I promise! I would start out with 2 dozen small prefolds and as another mom mentioned do not get the ones from target, and 6 small covers, or if budget allows 6 newborn covers too. My baby's were big, over 9lbs so the newborn size only lasted us a couple weeks if that. The smalls will seem big at first but with in a few weeks they will fit perfect. Oh and once the baby is bigger and sleeping longer you can use two prefolds at once or they sell inserts which is a bunch of layers sewn together, looks almost like a menstural pad for naps and nightime. You just lay that on top of or under the prefold. I prefer pul (plastic like material) since it almost never wicks or leaks unlike fleece or wool. Just don't dry them in the dryer, it ruins them faster. Covers I wash with anything but diapers I do a seperate load for. If I think to switch it to hot water I do most times I don't. I try and line dry all the time because the sun gets rid of stains and keeps them smelling fresh. But with my oldest when we lived in an apartment I dried them in dryer. Breastfed poop just disolves away but once they start eating people food I do shake off what I can in the toilet. My Mom used to swish it in the toilet and still does but I hate to so I never do:) For me it is easier, no extra trips to the store, I'm never worried that I will run out, better for the enviroment, better for baby and much much cheaper then disposibles oh and much funner to buy too:) Send me an email if you want to stop on by and check out our stash.

Hi E.,
Cloth diapers might seem intimidating when you start but they are by far less expensive and better for the baby and the environment. I would be happy to show you a bunch of different options I am a sales consultant for Natural Family Boutique and I have samples you can touch and feel to get an idea of how they work to see what might work best for you. You can look at my web site for ideas and I am happy to help in anyway I can!
www.naturalfamilyboutique.com/?rebeccaw

HTH
R.

Hi E.,
I am a total supporter of cloth diapers, although it has been 16 years since my daughter needed them. Before my daughter was born I worked in a public health program where we saw thousands of infants each year. One of the doctors once said to me, "how would you like to walk around with a plastic bag on your bottom all day?" The thought was not very appealing from a comfort stand point, so when my daughter was born I chose cloth and used them faithfully. I think it was more natural and better for her skin.
Hope this helps,
S.

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