diapering

Cloth Diapering: Baby Three

The newest chapter in our cloth diapering saga:


This guy.

(FYI we're still using the same cloth diapering system for the twins.  However, they have been showing signs and interest in potty training.  Cue sounds of excitement, terror, and a general sense of oh em gee.)

(And in case you really want to geek out over cloth diapering, you can read more about how we do here, here, and here.)

As far as Nolan goes, we started cloth diapering almost exclusively WAY earlier than with Caden and Brooklyn.  It was easier this time around, since:  A) we were basically zombies with the twins, so dealing with cloth was nowhere near a priority at the time B) Nolan's umbilical cord fell off in less than two weeks, making it easier to use all types of cloth diapers, whereas the twins' umbilical cords took over a month to fall off C) we more or less knew what we were doing this time and D) the twins are cloth diapered anyway, so what's one more to add to the rotation?

For young/small babies, I still love me some prefolds with wool covers.  Unfortunately, Nolan wets through them EXTREMELY quickly, and since he STRONGLY DISLIKES having a wet/messy diaper, there are times that I've had to change him every half hour.  This means I've gone back to our fitted newborn diapers, which I COULD NOT STAND with the twins, and now find (much to my surprise) indispensable.  They fit him SO much better, since he is closer to a "normal-sized" baby (aka we're dealing with legs that aren't quite so scrawny and chicken-like).  Of course, this now makes me regret selling about half of our fitted diapers as part of my "PURGE OR BURN IT ALL WE'RE FREAKING MOVING" frenzy before we left Madison.  However, I can summarize how the remaining stash of fitted newborn diapers fits thusly:

What doesn't work: literally the only fitted cloth diaper that did work for Caden and Brooklyn.
What does work: virtually every other fitted cloth diaper that we own that absolutely, positively, did NOT work no way never for Caden and Brooklyn.

GO FREAKING FIGURE.  Just one more way that Nolan is (surprise!) his own person.  While the twins have always been very similar in build, he's got a whole other thing going on.  I can't believe how I'm actually in love with our newborn stash of fitted cloth diapers this time, when with Caden and Brooklyn it was more like...meh.

I will say that prefolds are still a favorite (despite the quick wet-throughs) because you automatically wrap them snugly around those baby thighs each and every time.  It's just the nature of a prefold.  In contrast, the fitteds (at least the snap ones) need to be adjusted in the positioning of the snap closure fairly frequently, in dealing with the reality of a rapidly-growing infant.  I never have to second-guess myself when I fasten on a prefold, or on a fitted diaper with a velcro closure, and I still feel like I always question myself with the snaps. And then it leaks.  (BUT the velcro closure wears out way sooner.  It's a cloth diaper catch-22.)


In conclusion: cloth diapering is kind of a crapshoot.  What you buy/try/think you might like may not work for your baby, or the next baby, or the baby after that.  I cringed a little when I put a fitted diaper on Nolan for the first time based on my previous hatred, and now I love them so much I'm considering buying more.  I'm still so glad we hopped on this cloth diaper train.  One of the biggest reasons we did (besides saving the environment, blah, blah, hippie-pants) was to save money, and it blows my mind to think of just how much we've saved on diapers over the past couple of years.

And THIS is how you become a crazy, crunchy, cloth-diapering lady, with a cloth diaper stash large enough to cover the bottoms of half the children in the neighborhood.  At least I haven't started making my own.  Yet.


Cloth Diapering Twins: The Switch


So...


...we made a switch.  



{Fellow cloth diapering nerds can follow our diapering saga: part one and part two.}

While I still enjoy my beloved prefolds and wool covers, they were impractical for us anytime we left the house.  Wool isn't exactly water-repellent, so while the covers hold up pretty well all it takes is a couple good soakings for it to leak through and dampen their clothes.  Which never really happened while at home (they get changed often enough), but I can't always guarantee the frequency of changes when we're out of the house.  Also it's a lot to schlep around in a diaper bag: prefolds, doublers, and extra covers (always times two!) take up precious real estate that I don't have.  

Okay, no big deal, just slap a disposable diaper on there and away we go.

And that's what we did for awhile.  We weren't going through that many disposables, and were still able to wear cloth while at home.  Except.  Then we started leaving the house more and more, especially as the weather got nicer.  Caden and Brooklyn love to go "bye bye", so when we're gone twice a day, often for a good chunk of the morning and the afternoon, plus their disposables hold so much wetness and keep them feeling dry, they don't really need to be changed all that often.  So more often than not, we went entire days in disposables, which made our cloth diapering stash seem unnecessary.

Add in the fact that they were starting to grow out of the medium-sized prefolds (which have lasted us since last August) (!!!!!) and it seemed time to start shopping around.  A few people I know use Best Bottoms, so that's what I went with.

Two weeks in: so far, so good.  We do like them.  The ease of snapping an insert in is great. The covers are actually trimmer than our prefold/wool combo, so they fit under their clothes a lot nicer (though still bulkier than a disposable).  We can even (get this!) wear them ALL NIGHT, something we abandoned with our prefolds long ago because of the aforementioned soaking-their-clothes-through-the-wool-cover problem.  (As well as the fact that there didn't seem to be enough doublers/inserts in the world to keep Caden dry at night.)

So, not only are we still cloth diapering, we're actually cloth diapering more than we used to.

The downsides: poop.  With the prefolds, everything stayed contained on the prefold and even in our flushable liners.  The wool covers rarely got dirty anymore.  The Best Bottoms tend to cause some spillage off the snap-in insert and onto the inside of the cover, which is easy to clean/wipe down, but, y'know, the whole Ick Factor.  It also takes longer to change than a prefold, unless you have a new cover ready to go with an insert all snapped in, which I'm not accustomed to doing yet.  Tyson and I were pros at quick prefold changes, but we're not quite there yet with all the unsnapping, resnapping, etc.  We'll get there.  We also could use more covers (we have two for him and two for her right now, one each of snap and Velcro since I prefer snaps and Tyson prefers Velcro) (I KNOW I'm a snap convert! However I think it's easier now to fit their (still scrawny) thighs in snap covers snugly, without the newborn chicken legs that always left a gap.) but I'm hoping to find some at a discount instead of buying more full price.  However we wash fairly often, (mostly because we could ALSO use more inserts.  See: I'm cheap, would like at a discount, etc.), so it's not so terrible. It's also probably slightly more expensive than our old system, though not by much since I favored wool covers at forty bucks a pop.

The covers are also pretty versatile.  You don't have to use a snap insert with them.  I've thrown in a prefold (folded in thirds) when I've run out of the snap-in inserts, and used a regular cotton insert on top of a snap-in for extra coverage.  I feel like a cloth diaper ninja now, you know the ones.  The ones who blog about how they purchased cloth diapering system X, but use the inserts and fitteds from system Y, and combine it all with some bamboo-hemp-chamomile-save-the-trees liners that they grew in their backyard and sewed together themselves.  Okay, I'm not quite there yet, but I'm glad we have both options to work with.












{This cloth diapering message brought to you by Caden and the letter C, for this is oh so Comfortable.}



Cloth Diapering Twins (Part II)

When I last left off in my rambles with cloth diapering, everything was rainbows, glitter, puppies, and unicorns.  Everything worked, dammit.

Enter solid food.

In fact, here's one of the last things I said:
     "There's a lot more (WAY more) out there in the cloth-diapering world...pocket diapers, flat diapers, doublers/inserts, diaper liners, creams, diaper pails, not to mention that everything will probably change when they start eating solids...but, like I said, this is what works for us now, and it works well."

Yup.

So...

We have now entered the world of:
  • Disposables at night.  This actually happened within a couple weeks of writing that first post (because of course).  They just...pee a lot.  Especially since we don't change them at night anymore...12-13 hours is a long time in one diaper.  I tried some inserts, and even ordered these after reading the rave reviews that they worked oh so well as an overnight diaper, even for people with their so-called "heavy wetters".  The first night they wore them, with the included insert, and the included doubler, Caden peed through his.  By 2 am.  Since I didn't want to spend every night trying something new and change a wet, unhappy baby, (not to mention that part of doing cloth diapers in the first place is to save money and I can't keep dropping $50 on diapers hoping something will work), enter: disposables.  One Pampers overnight diaper lasts us the night.  Boom.  Done.  No problem.  (And considering that on an average day we go through a whopping two disposable diapers, a case of diapers still lasts us...a very long time.)
  • Doublers/inserts.  I mentioned above that I tried an insert at night, and that the "overnight" diapers I tried came with both a doubler and an insert.  (Which means that purchasing these diapers isn't a total loss since I still use these during the day, and sometimes the diapers themselves.)  Caden especially wets so much (apparently boys pee more than girls...even the lady at the diaper store said so!) that he gets an insert with each diaper change.  They each get an insert or doubler when they go down for a nap for extra protection.  Right now I have a couple hemp and a few bamboo ones, and I prefer the bamboo, though they both work fine.
  • Solid food.  Yup, we're gonna talk about poop.  It's...not pleasant.  While they had "explosions" much more frequently when they were exclusively breast-fed (we were dealing with at least one per day at one point), they weren't that bad, and easy to rinse out.  Now when we have leakage it is...much more disgusting. However, we only have a really bad explosion maybe once every 2-3 weeks. While I know many people use diaper sprayers to spray the solids off into their toilet, we use flushable diaper liners and really like them.  99% of the time they contain things very well, and it's really not so bad to pick the liner out of the diaper and flush it down the toilet.  Physically spraying the poo off their diapers sounds much more disgusting to me, not to mention that I would have two very curious babies trying to get in the bathroom with me to see what I was doing. (Though I will confess that there was one particularly nasty explosion a couple of weeks ago that was definitely NOT contained to the diaper liner...it was the one time I wished for a sprayer and I actually threw the entire mess of a cloth diaper away rather than deal with the carnage.  *Hangs head in shame*)
  • Squirmy babies.  Like most babies at this age, they HATE having their diaper changed.  What?!?  You want me to hold still for 1.35 WHOLE MINUTES! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!1!!  Cloth diapers just aren't as quick to change as a disposable, so we have to employ some distraction tools with them on the changing table.  Some things that have worked for us: singing, books, or giving them something to hold that they only get while on the changing table, such as their comb, brush, or even the little container of pacifiers.


(The EYEBROWS!)

What's (mostly) stayed the same:
  • Prefolds and wool covers.  We still love the prefolds and wool covers, in particular, the Sustainablebabyish Underwoolies.  We've been using the medium size prefolds for about six months, and should be able to continue using them for a long time.  That's $58 for the past six months of diapers (excluding our overnight disposables, of course).  I just recently purhcased two of the size two Underwoolies as well (which, holy crap, look HUUUUGGEEE).  The size two fits them so much better now, and we don't even have to wash them as much as before, since they very rarely get pooped on.
  • Washing.  We now run a load of diapers about every other day.  I really don't like to go longer than that since it seems like a long time for some (pretty nasty) diapers to sit.  We're washing slightly less than before since they go through less diapers during the day in general, and the inserts/doublers help a single diaper last for a longer amount of time.
  • Cloth wipes.  Still love 'em.  Still just wet them with water.  Still hippies.  We actually go through way less of them since they're only necessary for a dirty (not wet) diaper, and each baby only has those once or twice a day.
  • Disposables when we go out or travel.  Enough said.
Tyson and I are both glad that we've stuck with the cloth diapers.  It's definitely saved us money in the short (and long) run, and it's amazing to think how many diapers we would have otherwise sent to a landfill.  We also feel like it's better for the babies.  That said, we're not fanatics about it.  We clearly don't mind using disposables when it's more practical to do so.  Some days we use nothing but  disposables around here, like when they or we are sick, just because it's a little faster and easier and one less thing to deal with.

While I foresee us sticking with cloth diapers for the near future, that could change.  One thing that is annoying is needing to have two sets of clothing (at least pants) on hand: one for staying home and one for going out.  That cloth diaper bubble butt just can't fit in the the same size pants that they can while wearing only a disposable.  They are usually a size up in pants while in cloth, though right now we are in that sweet spot of being able to wear one size most of the time (9-month, though some of their 6-month pants still fit pretty well over a disposable).

Or, y'know.  You can just go pants-less...





(Probably found a stray Cheerio.)






(Love that bubble butt!)



Cloth Diapering Twins

So a lot of people have asked me about cloth diapering, and how we do it with twins.

My answer is really not that exciting, but here goes (because we all know that the internet needs another post about cloth diapering):

I don't think our method of cloth diapering is really any different than with a single kid, there's just more...diapering.  Right now we have a system, and both Tyson and I like it (yup, he is on board, too).  We tried a couple of things before finding what we liked.  What we do now works, and works well, and quite frankly I don't have the time/money/inclination to try anything else right now.

Here's a look at our "setup":


From left to right (across the front): extra/travel wet bag, prefolds, Snappis (on top of the prefolds), wool covers, wipes, and disposable diapers (just in case).  Also assorted creams, soap, lotion, etc.

Remember, we live in an apartment, so it's nothing extravagant.  Space is a premium, so it really is just that one little drawer in the top of the changing table.  Right now we have about 24 prefolds, which have to be washed every day, since we literally go through them in about a 24-hour period.  It would be nice to have maybe double that amount, but then we run into more issues: storing the clean ones (24 barely fit in the drawer as it is), storing the wet ones, since then we would need another wet bag because 24 more than fill up the large one we already have, unless we wanted to KEEP washing every day, etc., etc., etc. Since I am home every day, this works for us right now, and I rarely have to supplement with a disposable diaper from forgetting to wash them in time (I know it's time to wash when there are about five or six left).

(Note: We use cloth diapers exclusively when at home, but still use disposable when we go out because EASY.  Cloth diapers would take up a ton of space in the diaper bag that I do not have, since I'm already carrying things around for two little people plus myself.  Also when we are out-of-town visiting family we don't bother with the cloth diapers, because it would again be a pain to lug them all and have to deal with washing them all the time.)  

Anyway, when I was first researching cloth diapers I was slightly intimidated, because people were making it sound like a Big Deal, you have to wash them, prefolds are the option that are the MOST WORK, whine, whine, whine...

I don't know what those people were talking about.  They are almost no work.  Fold in thirds, place on baby, pin with a Snappi, (I admit that it took a couple tries to figure the Snappi closure out, (plus there are different variations) but now it's second nature.  If I would have had someone just show me how to do it the first time it would have been easier.  I figured it out from looking at pictures.), and throw on a cover.  I'm partial to the Sustainablebabyish Knit Underwoolies. We have five, and again, it might be nice to have a few more wool covers, but at forty bucks a pop...eh, I'll deal.  Also they are almost IMPOSSIBLE to find in a size one, except for the boring colors, like gray.  It's ridiculous, there's practically a black market for freaking Underwoolies.  (It's because they work and are so dang cute.)  We have a couple of polyester covers also.  They work fine if all the wool ones are wet, but aren't something I really like for all day every day use (although they do contain poo explosions nicely).  Again, the wool covers are super easy.  They pull on, and only need to be washed every two weeks unless they get poop on them first (yeah...ours have NEVER made it two weeks before needing a wash).  Washing involves: 1. Rinse off poop with cold water.  2. Fill sink with warm water.  3. Add a drop (literally, you don't need that much) of wool wash.  4. Add cover and soak for 15 minutes.  5. Air-dry wool cover.  The end.  The most annoying thing is that after washing, the covers take a good 36 hours or so to dry, but it's really not that big of a deal.  If they get wet from pee they just need to air dry before reusing them again.  Washing the prefolds is also super easy.  1. Set washer to largest load possible.  Do one rinse cycle in cold water.  2. Keep washer at highest setting, add detergent (I use Tide Original for all diapers, adult clothes, and baby clothes, everything, and have not had a problem) and do a full wash/rinse cycle in hot water.  3. Highest setting still, one more rinse with warm water.  4. Dry in dryer.  The whole process takes maybe 1.5-2 hours with our washer and dryer.

I thought I was really going to like the all-in-one style diapers, but...I didn't.  Just like a disposable diaper?!?  Only you can re-use them?!?  Shut up and take my money!!!  Gah...I hated them.  I don't know if we didn't get the sizing right, or the washing or what, (even though we washed them just like the prefolds, and the prefolds worked fine while the all-in-ones always seemed to repel everything and/or leak), but they never really worked for us.  All the snap/rise options, and velcro vs. snaps, and did I pull it tight enough around their legs (spoiler alert: NO NEVER), and why are there so many snaps again?.  Also, did I MENTION THE SNAPS???  They also need to air dry if you don't want to completely wear them out, which took at least a good 24 hours.  And, as I said, they never really did the job. They were cute to take pictures in, and I do miss the a-freaking-dorable prints, but they weren't worth it to me.  Again, I didn't have the time or inclination to figure out why they weren't working, (because TWINS) and then the babies were big enough to move up to the next size diaper, so I just stuck with what I knew and ordered prefolds.

My current prefold stash cost me all of $56, which includes an order of 24 prefolds (size small) and two polyester covers.  The wool covers I've bought randomly over time, but say that's another $200 (the size ones go up to 18 pounds, so you get a lot of use out of them), throw in a couple dollars for the Snappis, and you're at maybe $300 total.  I figure that otherwise we would go through about a case of disposable diapers a week, so with my math skills, I calculate that we are saving approximately a CRAP TON of money.  Plus being do-gooders for the environment.  Yay!

Which reminds me that as another part of our saving money/better for babies/we're totally hippies scheme, we also use cloth wipes.  We wet one in the sink with warm water before each diaper change (sounds like a hassle, but it isn't), throw it in the wet bag with the diapers when we're done, and wash them with the diapers.  Some people are fancy and have separate wet bags for their wipes, or a wipe solution and whatnot, but...like I said, we're just hipppies.  Keepin it simple.  We've noticed a huge difference in their little bottoms between using the cloth wipes vs. the chemical-laden disposable ones, and a little bit of water is really all you need to get their bottoms clean (at least right now while they are only breast-fed).  While we don't bring the cloth diapers with while we travel, we DO take the cloth wipes, since they don't take up that much space, we don't use as many, and they are easy to wash even with another load of laundry.

There's a lot more (WAY more) out there in the cloth-diapering world...pocket diapers, flat diapers, doublers/inserts, diaper liners, creams, diaper pails, not to mention that everything will probably change when they start eating solids...but, like I said, this is what works for us now, and it works well.

Holy crap I had no idea that I could ramble on this long about cloth diapers when our system is REALLY SO VERY SIMPLE and I thought I didn't actually have that much to say.  I could STILL keep going.  I'm going to stop while I'm ahead-ish and assume that I must have gotten all my most important points in already.

EXCEPT!

What everyone actually came here for: pictures of cute babies in cloth diapers.  Enjoy.