Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cloth Diapering

I was chatting with a pregnant friend (of this beautiful children's blog/online boutique) the other day about cloth diapers.  She is pregnant with baby number four (!) and was asking what our experience has been with them.  I was surprised to realise that we had never written about them on the blog, so here goes:

All the people I knew who cloth diapered used the old school ones that you fold and put plastic pants over.  I knew there must be a better option, and it turns out that there are loads of better options!  After doing a bit of research online, we decided to go with the Bum Genius 4.0 One-Size Stay Dry Diapers with a hook and loop closure.  We decided to go with the hook and loop as opposed to the snaps because I read that you could start using them earlier and that they allowed for a more tailored fit.  We were so excited once her belly button crust fell off so that we could start using them!  They were a bit bulky, but she didn't seem to mind.  Here she is wearing her first ever cloth dipe:

The diapers expand (by way of snaps) as your child grows and the inserts also expand.  There were many brands that required you to buy different sizes, so the one-size-fits-all Bum Genius diapers seemed more practical and less expensive.  

We started Charlie in these when she was around seven pounds and they worked brilliantly!

Speaking of money, we spent somewhere around $400 on our cloth diapers (although many of them were gifted to us).  Though the initial investment seems steep, I imagine that we will save thousands of dollars/pounds over the course of Charlie's pre-potty training years.  

We keep our diapers folded and in a basket on the changing table.

We also decided to go with cloth wipes.  If I had had more time I would have made my own, but instead we ended up buying these.  I had to cut the tags off when they arrived (they were huge!) but other than that, they've worked perfectly!  Unlike disposable wipes, these are thick and durable.  I can use one side, fold it over, use the folded side and then fold it again.  Even a big nasty poo can be contained with one or two wipes!  

We have a squirt bottle full of a about a tablespoon or two of liquid baby soap (whatever we happen to be using for her baths) mixed with water that we spray on the wipes right before we use them.  I've heard of people soaking cloth wipes in soapy water and storing them like disposable wipes, but that seemed a bit fussy.  The spray as you go system works well for us.  We also keep a small spray bottle and stash of cloth wipes in her diaper bag.  Using cloth wipes is really no extra work when you're already cloth diapering;  I highly recommend them!

We store dirty diapers in wet bags that we hang on the door knob of her room.  We have two so that one is always clean and dry and ready to go when one is in the wash.  We also have a small wet bag that we keep in her diaper bag for when we're out and about.  They have wet bags with all sorts of cute designs, but we decided to go with these simple ones.  

As for the poo issue . . . we've gone a little old school in that department.  Bum Genius sells a fancy diaper sprayer that you attach to your toilet to spray down poopy diapers, but we just shake it all into the pot and flush 'er down.  Because we simply flush the nasties away, we don't have the poopy nursery smell that you get from shoving poo into big plastic contraptions such as the Diaper Genie.  The only time our nursery smells of poo is when we've used a disposable diaper!  

Speaking of disposable diapers, we've recently started using them overnight.  They are able to handle ten plus hours of pee with more grace than our cloth diapers.  As much as we absolutely hate using disposable diapers (and the thought of my daughter's urine and fecal matter rotting away in plastic for hundreds of years hurts my environmentally friendly heart!) we also don't like waking up to an unhappy, wet baby.  We buy eco-friendly disposables, but even then, I still feel terrible about it.  Disposable diapers are one of the largest contributions to landfills and there is just no way around that!  I've decided to look into hemp inserts for overnight.  A cloth diapering friend of mine used them on her twins overnight and was quite happy with them.  

Overall, we have been really happy with our cloth diapers, but I'd probably give them a B.  If/when we have baby number two, we will likely upgrade to these organic Elemental One-size All-In-One diapers.  They are also Bum Genius brand, but they will fix the handful of problems we've had with our current diapers:  they're a bit leaky and the velcro has started to wear out.  My sister-in-law (who is a wizard on the sewing machine) helped us replace the tabs, but they are still not as grippy as they were when we first got them.  Apparently the snaps are way more durable.  As for the leakiness, the all-in-one diapers have a better design that address that problem.  It is a shame that we didn't get these in the first place because our current batch has really held up beautifully!  They could certainly make it through a second child, but I've now got my heart set on an upgrade!  

Cloth diapering wasn't a particularly difficult decision for us to make, but the idea of it certainly felt intimidating before we started.  Once we were doing it, however, we didn't think twice about it.  Yes, we have to do more laundry, but you do laundry all the time with kids anyway!  

Please feel free to ask me any questions and I'm happy to answer them.  I am a huge cloth diaper advocate and would love to convert more families to using them!

PS:  Though we've made an effort to adopt British spelling and terms, I just can't switch from saying diapers to nappies.  A "nappy" makes me think of Don Imus and I simply don't want to conjure his image multiple times a day.


  1. speaking of nappy v/ diaper... I have serious problems when I'm babysitting with buggy v. pram v. stroller! WHAT IS THIS LANGUAGE.

  2. Haha! Just when I start getting comfortable with terms over here then I go back to the states (or chat with friends/family back in the states) and have to change back!


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