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Cloth Diapering for the Non-Crunchy

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cloth Diapering for the Non-Crunchy

And by non-crunchy, I mean lazy. That's what I mean by that.

I never thought I would cloth diaper, but here I am. Whenever I post pics of my babe in cloth diapers (which I do all the time, because there is nothing cuter---besides maybe those pics of babies napping with puppies), I get very intense reactions.

  • "OMG CLOTH DIAPERS!? WHY" - Jennifer
  • "Cloth diapers? I'm impressed! I couldn't do it!" - Lisa
  • "These things are great - everyone should use these!" - Dad
  • "I bow to your cloth diapering ways. #somuchlaundry" - Steph
I'm here to convert all the cloth skeptics. This post is not for my dad both because he loves cloth diapers and he does not read this blog.

When I first contemplated the idea of cloth diapering, I thought maybe I'd do it part-time to save money and be a kind steward to the Earth, if I could swindle someone into purchasing them for us off our baby registry. I added a set of 12 to our Amazon baby registry thinking it was unlikely anyone would buy them for us, but it was worth a shot. My aunt ended up buying us 12 BumGenius Organic Cotton Elementals so I was on my way. I started using them when Will was about three weeks old, and once I started, I was hooked and went and bought 6 more diapers. I occasionally use disposables (when, for example, I don't feel like going downstairs for a diaper or when I get extra lazy with the laundry) and those disposables, they just feel extra icky and flimsy and weird-smelling compared to the cloths. So - for now, we cloth diaper exclusively.  

Now I'm always interested in learning about people's "CD stashes" and their laundry routines, so I thought I'd share mine to show you just how easy it really is. This is one of those times where I look at myself in the mirror and think "Who am I? What have I become?" 

Our Stash/Tools of the Trade
  • Diapers: We have 12 BumGenius Elementals and 6 BumGenius Freetimes. I opted for All-in-Ones because they are simple, non-crunchy-caretaker-friendly, contain everything for minimal exposure to fluids, and last from 8 pounds all the way to potty training. They are the most expensive and take longer to air dry than other types of diapers, but I have no problem keeping those frequent newborn poops at bay with a stash of 18 diapers. 
  • 2 Wet Bags: I have this Planet Wise bag that hangs in my laundry room. I also have a smaller one that fits in my diaper bag. (Not linking to the brand of the smaller wet bag because I don't recommend it, it leaks---get a Planet Wise one.)
  • BumGenius Detergent: I hear you can use Tide powdered detergent just fine, but I figured I'd use BumGenius brand until the 1-year warranty on the diapers expires, just to be safe.
  • MicroFleece Diaper Liners: Will has a diaper rash caused my his frequent acidic breast milk poops, and our pedi recommended diaper rash cream during every diaper change. Desitin is the only cream that's worked for us (we've tried every kind sold at the commissary), and "cloth-friendly" creams are notoriously ineffective, not to mention expensive. His rash is almost gone now! HURRAH! 
Desitin and other creams will gunk up cloth diapers, making them less absorbent, so I use fleece liners to protect them (and wash the liners separately). Bummis sells six fleece liners for $5 and this is a frightful rip-off. Instead, take your hard-earned money and go to Walmart or Joanne's, buy a yard of micro-fleece and cut out rectangles. There. You just DIY'd yourself some fleece liners. 
I bought a yard and a half of fleece at Walmart for $9 and here is like a third of its liner yield:
So get those scissors out if you need to use creams or just want to protect your diapers so they last foreverrrrrr! These are also really nice because I have so many, I don't have to wash them as often. Sometimes Always, Will likes to poo during diaper changes and I'll catch them in a fleece liner. No problem - just change them out and it saves the diaper. When he does this in disposables, they have to be thrown away. Moolah in the trash!
Our Routine
  • As soon as the diaper comes off (orrrr hours later, let's be real), I bring it down to the laundry room and create a stack of dirties next to the sink. I admit, I don't really use the wet bag for now because breastmilk poops don't really smell. Maybe a little musty. Daisy's breath and my very own feet after a day of traipsing around in Toms smell way worse. Way way worse. Trust me. 
  • I will usually have a stack of 12+ to start a load in the morning. I make coffee while the baby naps (I must hurry - this glorious nap could last only 20 minutes!!) and start rinsing the diapers as it's brewing.
  • I spray most of the poop off the diapers with cold water in my laundry room sink. Not all of it because this is for lazy people. Some use a diaper sprayer hooked up to their toilet for this. After house training two dogs, baby poop does not scare me, so into the sink it goes. Some also skip this step altogether, as breastfed poops are water soluble. I figure, my sink is right here, might as well give 'em a quick blast. I throw the wet diapers right into the washer which is next to the sink. Minimal touching of my son's fluids (not that he doesn't pee, poop, and spit up on me every day) as the outside of the diapers don't even get wet.
  • I throw the fleece liners into the wet bag to wash later. I wash diapers pretty much every day, but only need to wash the liners every few days because I have so many. I wash them separately (same exact way I wash the diapers except they get thrown in the dryer) so that the rash cream doesn't get on the diapers and ruin them.
  • I set the diapers on a cold pre-wash. Just a normal cold wash with no detergent. (This step can be skipped if you are rinsing with a sink/diaper sprayer according to Young House Love who also use the BG Elementals.)
  • Spray the sink with disinfectant and wipe down with a sponge. Sometimes.
  • Feed the dogs begging for breakfast at my feet.

  • Wash hands. No, this step is not optional.
  • When I hear the wash finish (my washer makes a loud clicking noise when the lid unlocks), I throw a scoop of detergent in and wash the diapers on heavy duty/deep clean/hot water with an extra rinse.
Extra rinse feature is clutch. Saves an extra step.
  • When this wash finishes, I hang them to dry on pant hangers in front of a fan in the window.

Usually they are up hanging by 10:00AM if I start my routine first thing while the coffee is brewing, freeing up my washer for the rest of the day for all the abundant spit-up laundry. The diapers are usually dry by the late afternoon when I need them. The fan cuts the drying time down by a lot
If I'm in a bind, I'll throw some in the dryer on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Again, the Young House Love folks threw theirs in the dryer every time and the diapers are still in great shape for their second kid. I'm hanging mine because I have the time (for now), I want to keep my warranty, and I want them to last forever (who knows if Will and his dozens of future siblings will EVER potty train, ya know? heh). 
  • Then, they all get carefully thrown onto the changing table shelf.
Because folding and organizing itty bitty baby clothes and cloth diapers is just not worth it.
There you have it. It takes minimal time and commitment, I promise you. Rinsing and air drying are the two steps that take the longest and those are the two steps that can be skipped. 

The Bottom Line

And now - the savings. These law degrees aren't paying for themselves. We've gotten a lot of diapers gifted to us, and if you can get your cloth diapers gifted to you then you are GOLDEN, because how many diapers do we use per month?

I dunno. A gagillion? (Yes, I track nursing, sleep, and diapers religiously.) I change Will often because he poops often, as directed by his pediatrician to avoid rashes. Since tracking, we've averaged 86 diapers per week with no signs of slowing down. (In fact, I am told it only gets worse from here.) That's over 600 diapers in his illustrious 7 week pooping career.

My diaper stash, including fleece liners, wet bags, and detergent, cost $453.70. (And I told you All-in-Ones are more costly up-front than other cloth diaper systems.) A giant box of 252 Pampers diapers are $45.99 on Amazon. That's the best deal I could find on the Internet for decent diapers that won't spring leaks every which way. I don't think I'd ever buy a box of diapers that big, since he would grow out of them and need a different size, just to spite me, but I'm trying to keep this simple because I don't like math.

If we cloth diaper for two years, that's 112 weeks x 85 (we'll round) diapers per week = 9,520 diapers. That's approximately 37 economy sized boxes of diapers. 37 boxes at 45.99 each = $1,701.63. I know I have a power pooper, so not everyone will save as much money as I will. I do pray he poops less in the future. However, you'll still save a butt-load of money (pun intended, of course) and the savings only multiply as your family does (be fruitful, ya'll!). Not to mention you could start your own little landfill with all those disposables.

But most importantly, above all else, how cute are they?

I rest my case.



At March 27, 2014 at 3:40 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Love it. And I'm way lazier than you, rinsing? Hang drying? Special soap? And I have never had a problem and now I have two kids goin at it in style! I Also have a smaller stash (6toddler size, 12 baby size and 8covers between the both of them) and haven't ever had the barnyard smelling problem... So yes, save the planet! Boo ya! Go us!

At March 27, 2014 at 3:47 PM , Blogger Theresa Breslin said...

Okay, now I really need that laundry detergent recipe... I am slowly phasing out the rinsing. I don't know why I do it. I guess I think they'll get cleaner? Or it's better for my washing machine? Like tracking diapers, old habits die hard. The hang drying I have down to a science: it takes me less than a minute to get them up, haha! I know because I can finish hanging before my breast pump parts are done sterilizing in the microwave ;) Oh, motherhood.

At March 27, 2014 at 9:05 PM , Blogger Stephanie said...

I share your nosiness for other moms' and babies' diapering and poop deets…I had planned on using cloth pretty early in my pregnancy (for the babe, not me), but after he was born we were gifted so many disposables that I didn't have to bust out the cloth until he was 4 1/2 months old. Let me tell you, the longer I used the disposables the more intimidating all the cloth looked! But, it really has been a pretty easy routine, one I'd almost dare call second nature by now. I have 9 Softbums covers with 18 interchangeable liners (all-in-twos as the club I guess I'm now a part of calls 'em) and 5 BumGenius Freetimes. The only bummer (ha) is that we live in an apartment building and pay for laundry, but I'm trying to cheat on the double wash by diaper sprayer-ing the heck out of the used dipes and calling it a cold rinse. So far so good! I love that you shared all this!

At March 28, 2014 at 11:06 AM , Blogger Jeanne said...

I have quite a stash of cloth but I just can't find the time. The babysitter won't do cloth, and I am only home from 6pm to 6:15am on weekdays. Maybe, though, if my babies start sleeping, I'll start CDing at home.

At March 28, 2014 at 11:43 AM , Blogger Theresa Breslin said...

If the babysitter won't do it, then it's kind of a bust! To me, it's not worth the extra work of running the laundry if you don't have a big enough load. I meant to mention that in the post, but I won't start a load unless I have at least 10 diapers going in, which is almost a full day's worth. I hate running tiny loads of laundry. Will makes that easy enough of a benchmark to meet ;)

At August 20, 2014 at 8:37 PM , Blogger Sheena said...

Bahaha!! 'Butt load'...I died.


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