Time for an another answer, and this time to Jackie’s question about my cloth diapering routine. Jackie is another real-life friend and fellow member of the CF. She worked with Dale for 4 years here in Comox before moving east to pursue her Master’s degree. Oddly enough I feel like I know Jackie even better now that we are living on opposite ends of the country than I did when we lived a few blocks apart! I just hope eventually we get posted together again so we can hang out again and solidify an already wonderful friendship 🙂 You can find Jackie over at Students of Life, where she is blogging about the impending arrival of Baby T. I thought since Jackie is getting close to the end of her pregnancy I should answer her question sooner rather than later!

Our diapering routine is somewhat different now than it was when Nate was first born, so I’ll go over both systems for good measure. I had a really hard time deciding what way to go with cloth diapers since there are so many options! If for some reason you are not clued into the fact that cloth diapering has come a long way in the last 30 years, you might still be thinking that all us cloth diapering mama’s are nuts. But really – we’re not! It’s actually really easy! Honest.

So before Nate was born I purchased the following:

24 unbleached newborn Indian prefolds

4 Bummi’s Super Whisper Wrap covers (small size)

4 snappis (to hold prefolds closed instead of pins)

5 Bamboozle fitted bamboo diapers (small)

1 kissaluvs fitted sherpa diaper (small)

2 XL bummi’s wet tote bags

1 step-open garbage pail

I think everything cost be approx $150 and I bought it all from Parenting by Nature. They are an online store in Orillia, Ontario and have wonderful customer service as well as great info on all types of cloth diapering systems.

The prefolds worked really well for a newborn and I would definitely go that way again. They are way cheaper than any other type of cloth diaper ($2-$3 per diaper), and not tough to use at all. At that point we washed every other day. Our wash routine was simply a normal wash in hot water, with Seventh Generation laundry detergent adding a second rinse. We didn’t soak the diapers prior to washing and because Nate was exclusively breastfed we never had a problem with poop smell or the poop not washing out in the machine. The wraps only need to be washed every 3-4 washes or if they get soiled. Everything but the wraps went in the dryer, although had it been summer we would have been line drying more often.

We had bought the Bamboozle and Kissaluvs to test them out before purchasing a lot. Although I loved the idea of using bamboo diapers they didn’t work for us – just not absorbent enough. I would have had to change his diaper almost every hour. The Kissaluvs however, were super soft, more absorbent and fit very nicely.

At about 3 months Nate started to outgrow the newborn size prefolds and we had a lot of trouble deciding what to do – stick with prefold, go with fitteds and covers, or try out an AIO (all-in-one) pocket system. I eventually decided to by a pocket sample package to test out 4 different pocket diapers (Happy Heiny’s, Bum Genius 2.0, Fuzi-Buns and SwaddleBees). My friend Rae-Lynn had gone with the Bum Genius right from the beginning and after a lot of debate and trying out the sample diapers we decided to go with the Bum Genius too. I think the final selling point was the fact that they are one-size-fits-all from 8-35 lbs! You just adjust the snaps as your baby grows, so there is no need to buy more diapers in different sizes.

I purchased 24 Bum Genius 2.0 from an online store called Tadpoles and Butterflies. They too had wonderful, quick service and a great rating from The Babywearer vendor reviews section. (I also ordered my Beco Baby Carrier and Suses Kinder Babywearing coat from them). I think the cost was approximately $500 and at the time shipping was free.

They have worked very well as far as I’m concerned. We are now on the middle size setting (switched when Nate was approx 15lbs). We the suede-cloth lining wicks moisture away and Nate’s bottom stay remarkably dry. He has never had a diaper rash – ever! We now double stuff for overnight and by morning the stuffers are soaked, but he is still dry. I find a hemp doubler works extremely well for double-stuffing. I must admit that I do find it a bit annoying at times to have to stuff the diapers, but it’s a small price to pay for the fact that they work just as well and keep him as dry as a disposable would.

Our washing routine is almost the same, except now that Nate’s on solids, we shake off solid poops into the toilet and swish if required. I was having a bit of trouble with the low water usage in our HE machine not getting the poop out of the gathers of the diapers, so I now do a 30 minute cold water soak in the machine, then a normal cycle with a pre-wash and rinse on the hot setting. I still use Seventh Generation but to combat the poopy smell I add a 1/2 cup of Borax to the wash cycle (not the soak). They dry in the dryer or on the line. I do diapers about every 3rd day for the most part.

One thing I think is an absolute must is having 2 of the Bummi’s XL wet diaper totes, that way I just toss the bag in the wash (but not the dryer) with the diapers and I have another one to put in the diaper pail right away. I also have a few of the small wet totes for the diaper bag and my used family cloth in the bathroom. I also wash my cloth wipes and family cloth along with the diapers.

Wow – this really turned into a novel! It’s funny because I remember reading about other people’s “systems” when I was pregnant with Nate and no matter how much I read, it all seemed very overwhelming and confusing. So I hope this helps at least a little bit Jackie! I think the bottom line is that you will eventually develop your own system through trial and error. I am happy with the fact that we went with a cheaper option first and then a sample pack of pockets before shelling out a lot of money on a single type of diaper. For example, had we just gone ahead and ordered 2 dozen of the Bamboozle, like I was considering in the beginning, I would have been very disappointed! If you’ve been totalling it all up, I think I’ve spent in the neighbourhood of $750 on cloth diapers and accessories – that should last me until Nate is ready to potty train. I have read estimates that disposable diapers cost anywhere between $50 and $80/month, even on the low end that’s at least $600/year…per child! So there can definitely be a significant cost savings to using cloth – especially if you’re going to be using them on more than one baby!

Overall, I am extremely happy with our decision to cloth diaper. Contrary to popular belief it is not difficult or extremely time consuming and I think the environmental benefits far outweigh the minor inconveniences (more about this when I answer Gill’s question!) Let me know in the comments if I missed anything you wanted to know and I’ll do a follow up post if necessary!