Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Classic Diaper Dilemma

Written by Guest Author Kendra Ryckman

I’m no expert when it comes to cloth diapers.  But I’ve been where you are, swimming in a sea of overwhelming choices when it comes to the new world of cloth diapers.  It’s not your momma’s cloth diaper experience anymore.  No more pins and origami folding techniques needed to tackle today’s cloth- unless of course you want them since they too are still around.  I’ll be honest.  I’d love to help you navigate the long list of acronyms and abbreviated lingo found when browsing mommy blogs devoted to cloth diapers (AIO, AI2’s, flats, prefolds, etc.) but even after using cloth diapers for 2+ years I am still the one that needs the help.  But what I can tell you is that although it will take some decision making research, it is worth it and so much easier than the oodles of information will lead you to believe.  AllAboutClothDiapers.com helped me navigate the diaper lingo and has a list of great recommendations to help you get started.

My son in Charlie Banana's one size pocket diaper

I suppose that first you need to decide your reason(s) for wanting to use cloth vs. disposables.  When my daughter was born I quickly fell so in love I had to quit my job (which barely paid me anyway) to spend as much time with her as possible.  Read: we were broke.  Looking at our budget is what peaked my interest in cloth and truthfully is why I continue to use cloth for my son.  It is so expensive, even with coupons (that I never remember to bring), so why pay for disposables when I have a stash of *free* diapers that do just the trick.  So the journey began.  For those of you who are leery of the upfront investment of cloth let me assure you it is well worth the cost.  

The most difficult part is of course deciding what brand to buy.  But I’ve found it’s not the brand that you need to pick but the type.  I started with an entire stash of hybrid diapers (gDiapers).  I loved that they were versatile in that they offered a disposable insert I could use when out and about or when granny came to visit.

My daughter in gDiapers

But here’s the kicker with the g’s. The pieces have to be washed in different temps of water.  This became an issue when I had a pre-toddler that didn’t use as many inserts and I was doing a load of 5 inserts at a time.   Kind of a waste of time and energy.  Also, they are sized so if your baby outgrows them before potty training you’ll need to buy more.  My babies were just tiny enough to fit through potty training.  (Cloth by the way is the way to go for pre-potty training time!  They can feel it and it makes the transition so much easier).  Okay off track.  When my son was born I decided to see if I could find a great naptime diaper.  I bought one of a few different types and ended up falling in love with pocket diapers with snaps (Charlie bananas).  Pocket diapers worked for us because they were husband and grandma friendly in that they went on like a disposable diaper and virtually fool proof to put on.  I liked a few of the others I tried but decided to stock up on my pockets since I liked them so much!  You too may find it easier to choose your favorite after trying a few styles.  The ones you don’t like can be back up or you can sell them on sites like amazon or re-diaper.com.

The other secret to success when it comes to cloth diapering is getting a great routine down.  If you’re swimming in diaper laundry you probably need a better routine.  For me it was having diapers and all diaper pieces and wet bags that can be washed in the same temperature.  At one point I had 3 different temperatures my diapers needed to be washed on and let me guarantee you I was drowning in diaper laundry.  Being able to dump the entire contents of my wet bag into the wash with my wet bag was a big help.  The other big help for me was deciding when diaper laundry day was.  When my son was born and I had two in diapers I washed 3 times a week but now that I have just one in diapers and he doesn’t go through as many I only wash diapers on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Yes, I had to set an actual day of the week because my mind couldn’t remember when it had been 2-3 days since the last load.  Plus this way I always know I’ll have a clean stash of diapers ready when needed.

gDiapers in action
Getting the right tools will also help you successfully implement cloth diapers.  My list of tools includes a dry pail (a trash can with a lid lined with a large wet bag where diapers can hide out until laundry day), smaller wet bags that can fit in your diaper bag when you’re out and about, cloth wipes (might as well since you’re doing laundry anyway) or flushable wipes (think of this…when using cloth you can’t roll up the wipes into the diaper and toss the whole thing.  The poop goes in the potty and wouldn’t it be nice if your wipes could be flushed too?), diaper sprayer (honestly I don’t have one of these but it’s on my list. And in case you’re wondering, for now, whatever poo doesn’t come off into the toilet just gets washed out in the washer), and an awesome diaper cover. 

I’ll leave you with what works for me and my routine because when I finally heard how someone else did it that is when it all made sense to me.  But here is the thing, mommas, it doesn’t matter how I do it or how Sally down the street with her perfect house and kids and husband does it.  What matters is that you find what works for you and makes your heart sing because until you do, it won’t be worth it. 

I use Charlie Banana one size pocket diapers (most of which I bought on sale from re-diaper.com) and gDiapers during the day.  On diaper laundry days (Sundays and Wednesdays) I toss the entire load into the wash and do a pre-rinse on cold.  Then I add the tiniest amount (tablespoon or two) of soap (Tide free and clear powdered detergent) and do a wash cycle on warm/cold.  Then I rinse once more. If they stink or still have soapiness I rinse again.  I hang dry the outside diaper part and put inserts and wetbags in dryer.  For naps I use one insert in a Charlie Banana with a Disana cover or one I made myself (you can find tutorials online).  At night I use Pampers baby dry 24 hr protection. (haha! remember, do what works for you!)

Wool cover I made from a sweater

Good luck and please leave your comments or questions in the comments below!

Kendra Ryckman is a WAHM raising two close-in-age kiddos who love to giggle and make messes.  She teaches skin care and makeup application through her Mary Kay business and helps others live their dream because she believes being a beautiful mommy isn’t a crime but not having a choice to stay home to raise your kiddos is.  Her other obsession is cooking homemade, non-processed meals for her family which includes baking some awesome bread twice a month and shopping her local farmer’s market.

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