L.L. asks from Granby, CT on November 14, 2010
Talk to Me About Cloth Diapers
How many of you ladies have used cloth diapers? Do you really save a ton of cash? Anyone try it, but quit because it was too much of a hassle? Are they practical for working moms? Do they make the house stinky? Do you wash them in your regular washing machine or use a diaper service?
S.H. answers from St. Louis on November 14, 2010
as a daycare provider, I learned to hate them! At 1st, I was on board with the whole idea.....
What I have found is that the very thickness of the new products spreads those little legs apart so far that (in 2 families) it actually affected the gait of the children. Luckily, both of them began to walk properly once they were transferred to disposables! One of the families actually had the pediatrician's input & he was adamant about going back to disposables.
All of the families had common complaints: the diapers could be used for a few months & then had to be discarded.....you could only clean them so many times before they developed an unbearable odor & created rash.
Rarely did one diaper last thru the night....& most families layered on two! - which really was bad for those hip joints.
Opinion on cost was split: some felt is was cheaper than disposables, other felt that by the time you factor in your own time/effort & cleaning supplies....it was not worth it. I had one mom who bought hers used thru the local resale shop. I had one mom who made her own- those were a nightmare to use!
In the end, after trying this over a span of 3 years, I finally told the parents NO MORE. Storage thru the day was an absolute pain! & it seemed that the working moms ended up hating the cloth diapers much quicker than the SAHMoms. It was just one more job to do in the evenings.
Oh!! & one more thought: cloth diapers did not prevent diaper rash. Over that 3 year period, diaper rash incidences were equal to those with disposables. ....well, honestly, I think general redness around the legs was more with cloth! I rarely see marks on the legs with disposables.
Negative Nelly checking out!
EDIT: addressing Bug B's comments regarding my response: as I stated, two of the children in my care had issues with the bulkiness of the cloth diapers affecting their gait. Both boys had a tendencies to rotate their hip joints outward (bow-legged walk) while in cloth diapers. Switching to disposables corrected this....& yes, the pediatrician was adamant about making this switch.
As for the brands, I do not remember which brands these 2 families used, but the following is a list of what I've seen pass thru my daycare: Knickernappies, Thirsties, Bummis, BumGenius, Tweedlebugs, & I think I remember BabyKicks? & as I stated, I even had one mom who made her own! Different brands for different people....as with anything & everything!
& Just like with disposables, different brands for each of the kids in my care!
Life choices like these are based on personal opinion & life experiences. I posted my experiences to share with you what I have personally seen with the children in my care. Each of us has the option to make our own choice.....hopefully without slamming anyone else! Peace.
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B.B. answers from Dallas on November 14, 2010
I'm not sure, what diapers Sue H. was using, but I (along with everyone I've known who's used cloth) did NOT have issues with walking and diaper rash. My son's diapers are not heavy in the middle. They are very trim. He learned to crawl early and walked at 12 months. Everyone else I knows children are similar with milestones. My own pediatrician cloth diapers all of his kids, so I'm not sure where this gait issue comes from. I've never heard of that! My son has never had a bad rash...similarly with my friends. (I say bad, becuase he always get a rash when a tooth is erupting. He would have that with disposables, or cloth) We wash my son's clothes with the diapers, so there is really no "extra" laundry. The laundry soap (which is cloth diaper friendly, that is very important.) I use, is $15 a box. BUT...it lasts 6 months or more and we use it for all our laundry...so we'd be buying it anyway. We have very low water bills, so I don't see it contributing there. (maybe, becuase we combine washes, so we aren't doing a special load.) We started using cloth when my son was 2 months old. All together, we've spent about $200 on cloth diapers and cloth wipes. He's been in cloth, for 16 months now. Have we saved money...YES! We would have spent WAY more the $200 over 16 months on disposable diapers and wipes. Washing them, is not a hassle. I mean, you just stick them and in and walk away, just like with any other laundry. Honestly, I have never noticed a smell in our home. (and neither has anyone else. I get comments, from my family..."I thought the diapers would stink up the house, they don't") I leave our diapers in a small trash can, that's it.
I think a key, is finding the right diapers, for you. Sue H, might have used very thick prefolds. They are certainly cumbersome, not always the most absorbent. As far as the build up she mentioned, cloth has to be taken care of. They require a "strip" every once and a while to avoid build up. I washthem in a few scalding hot washes back to back, with country save oxygen bleach and calgon for hard water, every few months. It fixes a build up problem. She might have been using the wrong detergent. Anything with added ingredients, enzymes, or stain blockers...Tide, Gain...will cause a bad build up in diapers. They also ruin the fibers. That's why you have to get a good cloth diaper safe detergent. I use Country Save, that I purchase from our Natural foods store down the road. As I said, we wash everything in it.
I think most cloth diaper "horror" stories, come from using inferior diapers, washing and caring for them incorrectly. If you don't care for them right, they won't work right. If you have any questions, feel free to message me!!
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P.N. answers from Boston on November 14, 2010
I used cloth with DD for about 2 years, then she wanted disposables (we had used them when traveling) so we switched. I absolutely hated constantly spending money on them. Yes, cloth was cheaper, and it could have been A LOT cheaper, depends on what you decide to use. I disagree with the daycare provider totally. I didn't have to discard anything and plan to resell them. I also got some second hand that worked fine.
Anyone try it, but quit because it was too much of a hassle? No. It wasn't much of a hassle. Yes there were extra loads of laundry, but it's easy laundry. Toss it in, toss in drier, remove. There is no sorting and folding. No big deal. Dump the bag in and turn it on. That's it.
Are they practical for working moms? I am a SAHM but I have a couple friends who cloth diapered and worked full time.
Do they make the house stinky? No, I found the diaper champ or whatever it was that was full of disposables way more stinky than the dry bag of diapers I had in there. Really!
Do you wash them in your regular washing machine or use a diaper service? We didn't have a service available and I liked using a variety of diaper types. We had a couple All-in-Ones, and really liked the pocket diapers and fitteds. Services just do prefolds. I also didn't use bleach or anything harsh like that, which obviously they would need to.
DD had a rash here and there but nothing excessive. And I really didn't like the idea of all those chemicals (the gel beads) in the disposables being right against her 24 hrs a day for years. Yuck. My diapers didn't end up with a gross odor after several washes. When diapers have a stink they probably just need to be stripped with some hot washing. And sunshine works great for stains. DD's gait was fine, that is a really interesting complaint the other person mentioned. I know a whole bunch of kids who were cloth diapered and they all walked fine. If you are changing diapers as they need to be changed, there is no reason you'd have to stuff the diaper so full that the child has to walk like frankenstein or something. Night can be an issue for some big wetters, but there are usually solutions, and if you have a big wetter with disposables you'll have issues too.
They really are not complicated at all. My husband, who was skeptical at first, had no issue figuring out how to do it. They really are so much nicer to have against that baby skin, than those chemical-filled plastic things. You may want to give it a try.
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J.B. answers from Boston on November 15, 2010
I used cloth diapers for both kids - mainly prowraps and prefolds (less like the disposables, but probably the least expensive), but some all in ones. You have to try out some different brands/types to see what works best for your child. Definitely saved money. Never ran out of diapers. We only used disposables once for two weeks on my first, when we went on a trip to Holland to visit family. I worked 5 days until my daughter was born; then I reduced to 35hrs in 4 days. My husband (4 days since our first) did help a lot with the diapers, but we found it do-able.
We went through a handful of diaper cream tubes in 4 years with 2 kids. Almost all of that was at day care - we needed to provide the diaper cream, and I think they tended to use it even if it wasn't necessary. The kids rarely had any kind of rash.
We definitely saved on #1 (a boy, and a late potty-trainer!), and when we were able to reuse for #2 we saved even more. Savings vary of course depending on what diapering and cleaning system you use. We washed in our washing machine - it was very easy. Lots of laundry (a load every 2 days), but very easy to do. It was not stinky (as you flush the poop right away) - we used zippered "wet bags" which contained any odor; they now double as bags for swimming things when we go to the beach or for swimming lessons.
I've packed up most of the covers and diapers that are in good shape (some of the rattier diapers have gone on to cleaning cloths, and some covers we had to discard), and am planning to sell on eBay. We used bleach, which is hard on the diapers - personal choice, but without it, we probably would have been able to resell more covers.
We bought most of our diapers here - they also have some good information about cloth diapering: http://www.nickisdiapers.com/ We did some research and found wetbags and general cloth diapering information at this site: http://www.diaperpin.com/home.asp
S.C. answers from Fort Wayne on November 14, 2010
I've used cloth for about 2 years. I started when my oldest was 2 and used them until she was potty trained. I've used them on my youngest since she was an infant. I LOVE them! We have saved a TON of money buy using mostly cloth. We do use disposables if we're going to be gone overnight and for my mom, stepmom and MIL. They are very intimidated by cloth. However, my babysitter uses them with no problem.
I wash mine in my washing machine. Contrary to what some might say, you don't need a special washing machine to get them clean. For the poopy diapers, I dump the poop into the toilet and swish if necessary. It sounds gross, but it's not that bad. You can also get a diaper sprayer to avoid the swishing.
For a working mom, I would recommend a sleeve diaper like SmartiPants or a hybrid diaper like Flips. I think pre-folds or fitteds with covers would be a lot to expect from a babysitter.
Modern cloth diapers are wonderful. They fit just like a disposable!
I wash every other day and I very rarely have any type of stink. The only time I have issues is when I get lazy and don't wash for three or four days. It's not that much extra work to wash them. I do a cold cycle, then two hot cycles, then two more cold. I have really hard water though, so I have to add an extra hot and cold cycle. Most people just do a cold rinse (to get all the ickies out), a hot cycle (hot wash cold rinse) and an extra rinse. I line dry my diapers in the summer and in the dryer in the winter.
I highly recommend checking out The Cloth Diaper Whisperer. It's a wonderful resource for cloth diapers. I'm also more than happy to answer any other questions you might have!
S.W. answers from Amarillo on November 14, 2010
I used cloth diapers with my kids when you had to fold them. But the diapers could be folded to fit the bottom as the child grew. At night you added an extra which usually held up through the night.
My son when to daycare and they used cloth diapers on the kids and these diapers were washed twice a day with a special cleaner. No one ever got a rash or anything from them. I used disposables for transport from home to center and back.
I worked full time and washed them out every 2 to 3 days. There was no odor in the house annoucing a baby. Just rinsed them out when they were soiled and put in the diaper pail.
The other day I came across a diaper used on both my kids that's about 37 years old.
So there is no more work in washing diapers than washing regular children's clothing Go for it. Just find a brand you really like and can be used for more than one phase of the child's life.
I think I bought abou 12 dozen over a period of time and they were the flat folds, Curity and Birdseye brands. Birdseye were used more like burp cloths because they were think but folded up they could hold quite a bit.
Good luck to you.
The other S.
S.H. answers from Orlando on November 14, 2010
I've used cloth diapers with my son since he was 3 months old. He's now 2.5 and we are planning to also use them with our second child who is due in a few months. We use BumGenius diapers and have loved them. I found that they worked better than disposable diapers. We never had blow-outs with the cloth diapers but sometimes would when using disposables. Our son also rarely had any problems with diaper rash. We spent about $400 for the cloth diapers. We use disposables while traveling and if he goes to a babysitter's house. We've found them very easy to use, even my husband likes them. I rinse the inserts in the sink right after changing him and do a load of diapers every 1-2 days. This way I don't have any problem with smells. Actually, I think that disposables smell way worse when they've been sitting a few days because of the chemicals that are in the diapers. I don't use a diaper service and just use my regular washing machine. I do a cycle on cold, a cycle on hot, and a cold rinse. I dry them in the dryer. I'm a stay-at-home mom so I'm not sure how it would work if your child is in daycare. I suppose it would depend on how comfortable the caregiver is with using cloth diapers. It's a bit of extra work because of the extra laundry but becomes a habit very quickly and and I don't even think about it anymore. Another benefit is that you never have to worry about running out of diapers (as long as you keep up with washing them). I know they aren't for everyone but we've been really pleased with our experience. Hope this helps!
J.S. answers from Minneapolis on November 14, 2010
I switched to cloth when my DD was 9 months old to save money. By 16 months, SHE was ready to be done with diapers. I think she didn't like the wet feeling. I kept them in a bucket in the basement & washed pretty frequently, and I don't remember our house smelling like diaper. They can be a challenge for working moms, depending on your babysitter. I work full time, and had 2 different sitters in the time that my DD was in cloth. One would not use them during the day (I took her in a clean one, and the sitter would put one on for the last change of the day). The other sitter used them & just put them in a bag for me to take home each day.
They can be expensive to get started, if you want all new. If you are okay with purchasing used, I would recommend checking out www.diaperswappers.com I found a lot of good deals on that site, and had a lot of cloth diapering questions answered.
I am glad I used cloth, I think that is the main reason my daughter potty trained so early! She was ready before I was! :) Good luck in whatever you choose!