Thursday, November 7, 2013

Butt covering update: What I know about cloth diapering (14 month edition)

So, the last time I talked about cloth diapers, our situation was a wee bit different.  Logan was 4 months old, he was still breastfeeding exclusively and we'd only been on the bandwagon for the time it took our little cherub to gain 10 pounds.

Fast forward ten months.  We made it!  It's been over a year on the cloth diapering front!  Remind me to show you the medal I was never actually awarded for faithfully changing and dumping poop three to five times a day for the last 14 months.  (Sidenote: that's a LOT of poop that is not sitting in landfills.  You're welcome, world.)

I know this gig isn't for everyone.  Truthfully, it didn't even used to be for me considering that we used disposables the first time through.  But it bums me out when people are all, eeeew, doesn't it gross you out to have poop in your washing machine?  Here's the thing: I so-ooo do not have poop in my washing machine.  Yes, that would completely gross me out, but the truth is that the poop gets flushed, as it's technically supposed to even if you are using disposable diapers.

The other myth that bums me out: I don't think I can handle dealing with poop all the time.  Here's the thing: 1) you'd better get used to dealing with poop if you ever intend to potty train your child, because, trust me... that poop is a-comin'.  Probably in the form of ooops I didn't tell you I had to poop and now it's in my underwear/pants/socks/upmyshirt/downmyleg from your sweet two year old.  Enjoy. 2)  The extent of my dealing with poop is typically this: open diaper.  Tip poop into toilet.  Flush toilet.  We don't have many icky sticky poop incidents at our house that require scraping, although there are a plethora of tools to deal with them should they occur.

Am I really qualified to make recommendations about cloth diapers?  Heck no!  But I can tell you what works for us, and why.  Here it is, in good, old-fashioned, teacher-approved bullet point format: the world of cloth diapering according to Melissa.

  • We chose Rumparooz.  Why?  Because we like them, and they are a local company here in Colorado.  That was really the final nail for me, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the diapers themselves.  Also in the running were BumGenius4.0  - which can now be found at Target - and OhKaty because they have super adorable patterns and colors.  All three have the same basic premise: snap closure, microfiber diapers designed to grow with your baby, as well as inserts that help absorb all the ickies.  
  • How are they different from disposables?  A disposable diaper relies on an absorbent gel to lock mess in.  One of the many things I love about cloth diapering is that babies are much less likely to get diaper rash, because 1) you change them more frequently and 2) that mess isn't locked in against their skin.  In 14 months, Logan has had only one case of diaper rash, and it was absolutely due to the fact that he was going through an I have to poop every 37 minutes phase.  When you poop that much, you pretty much get a rash regardless.  I've never had to use any kind of butt paste or diaper creme on him, and the diapers are super soft even after all this time.  
  • Cleaning.  We use the most basic liquid Tide available.  No scent, no additives, no nothing.  It's different from our regular laundry detergent, but it works wonders on the diapers.  You could try all sorts of fancy organic blends, I've also heard of people making their own, or you could just schlep to the store since Tide is available everywhere.  We're super lazy, so we chose option C.  It works for us.  The sun is your best friend in cleaning a diaper, and the covers get sunned usually once a month to help get rid of any build up or stains.  I am happy to report that the stains we had initially from the breastmilk poops have entirely gone away.  Although our diapers look a bit more lived in these days, they are still fluffy, soft, and overwhelmingly stain free.
  • Poop.  I can't vouch for anyone else who uses cloth, because people have created all sorts of gadgets to get cloth diapers poop free.  When they're exclusively breastfed, you can simply toss a poopy diaper in the wash and, since the poo is water soluble, it washes right out.  Once you start on solids, you have to devise a new strategy.  We've been really lucky, because we seldom have to do anything more complicated than dump a clump and flush.  Occasionally the diaper gets banged against the side of the toilet to knock poop lose, and every now and again I have to use some TP to help me scrape it out.  There are those who dunk the diaper, who have an attachment on the toilet, who keep a scraper... we've never had to go to any of those extremes.  My original plan was to use these flushable liners to help us dispose of messy dumps, but I've never had to use them.  
  • Changing.  We've slowed down dramatically on the changing front.  Once Logan got onto solids and off of breast milk, I was able to go 3-4 hours between changings and his outfits are no longer wet throughout the day.  We are still using disposables at night; whether we need to or not remains to be seen.  It's become our habit and we're pretty happy with it.  
  • How many?  I have two dozen, and it's a number that works fabulously for us.  When we have another baby to diaper, I will probably get 6-10 more depending on where we are in the potty training process with Logan. 
  • Velcro or Snap?  Snap.  No contest.  Based on my exactly zero experience with velcro, but I hear the snaps are longer lasting and less hassle. I'm sticking with that story.
  • Wipes. We're still using these fabulous cloth wipes from Charlie Banana.  Love them.  They come in sets of 10; I have 2 packs (20 total).  It's plenty, even though I do keep a box of disposable wipes on hand as well, simply because they're super handy.  We use far less disposable wipes than we did with Leah, though.  
  • Costs.  We buy a small pack of diapers once every two months or so, as opposed to a huge box once every three-four weeks.  The revolving costs for us are 1) disposable diapers and 2) the cost of washing and drying our diapers, which is so minimal we don't feel it.  Maybe an extra $1-$3 dollars a month... and if I had to guess I'd say even that is a stretch (I read a statistic that says a load of laundry costs approximately  $0.16 each time to wash and dry.  Another stat says $0.11 to wash and $0.35 to dry.  I don't know the truth, but I know it's nothing in the long run).  The truth is, the cost of cloth is so minimal compared to the continual costs of disposables, it's not even a contest.  Particularly because for our next child, there's not going to be the huge start up cost of buying all those cloth diapers.  We spent $567 on the diapers, wipes, wet bags and other accessories necessary; we spent something close to $900 on Leah's first year of diapers, wipes, Diaper Genie liners and butt paste (she was potty trained right at 3, if that gives you any reference).  For us, it's a no-brainer.
I'm sure there's things I've missed here.  So how about you?  Cloth or disposable?  How do you run the clean bottom express?

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