Monday, April 28, 2008

Cloth Diapers Part 4: Fashion Reasons We Use Cloth Diapers

Or, The Aesthetics of Poop-Catchers

Or, My Baby's Bum Is Cuter Than Your Baby's Bum

Having already bored you all to tears with my environmental, financial, and home ec laundry lectures, finally I'm getting to what kind of diapers we use, which are our favorites, and the fashion show!

First of all, as mentioned in comments, cloth wipes are great with cloth diapers because you don't have to throw some things away and some things in the wash; you can just throw the wipes in the pail with the diapers, and they hardly add to the laundry at all. I use the small cheap baby washcloths, although they are not as soft as wipes you can buy or make. I wet them with plain water--warm if I'm feeling kind, but usually I just pre-wet a small stack and keep them in an old plastic container from disposable wipes. You can make or buy solutions or add tea tree oil or scent, but I don't bother (see again: lazy and cheap).

I have a variety of diapers. First we bought the cheapest route: Chinese prefolds and covers. I bought our first diapers with just money we'd saved in change jars and pop cans, by the way; so you could do this quite cheaply. I will admit that at first these seemed really huge and I was no good at different ways of folding to better keep the poop off the covers (it never got on clothes though). But it was mostly a fit issue--once our daughter grew a bit more, a simple fold-in-thirds-lay-it-in-the-cover system starting working fine. This is what I do now most of the time at home and for naps since they're still bulky but very absorbent. Easy to care for since they're 100 percent cotton.

Pins? Nope. I have never even tried using one (though my husband did it with his little brother back in the day!). I did try a Snappi fastener when I was experimenting with folding techniques, but now I just fold in thirds so don't need it. I will keep it, though, because mark my words, a Snappi is THE best thing for cleaning fuzz out of velcro! (Which reminds me to clean my Teva sandals...)

I also have a couple fitted diapers which also need a cover over them (unless you are just chillin' at home and want to let your babe romp in just their cute, breathable diaper). They have nice elastic around the legs which keeps everything in, even with runny newborn poo (or so I hear since we didn't have any of that here). So they're easier and cuter than prefolds but a bit more expensive and take longer to dry.

Covers: I have 3 Bummis Super Whisper Wrap and 1 ProWrap. This is the waterproof layer that holds the prefold on and keeps wetness in. These don't need to be washed after every use unless poop gets on them. So when I throw a wet diaper in the pail, I hang the cover in the bathroom to air out a little bit and use another one next time, just rotating them until they need a wash. That's why you don't need many covers.

When I use prefolds and fitteds I also throw a rectangle of fleece on top of the diaper; that keeps her feeling drier (moisture passes right through fleece) and if she poops, it doesn't stick to the fleece at all. It seriously rolls right off like . . . well, since it's poop I won't give an analogy since most of my analogies usually have to do with food. But it makes everything super easy.

But then we discovered . . . pocket diapers! How can you not love diapers with names like Fuzzi Bunz and bumGenius 3.0? Pocket diapers consist of a waterproof cover-type outside with velcro or snap closure. On the inside is a layer of fleece or suedecloth with an opening at the back to stuff in an absorbent insert. They usually come with a microfiber insert but the beauty of it is that you can stuff whatever you want and however much you want in there--prefold diapers, hemp doublers, an old hand towel, or I hear those microfiber towels sold for washing your car are super absorbent. At night we use two inserts or even really load it up with a prefold and doubler. That's because our girl sleeps 11-12 hours and during that time pees approximately, oh, 11-12 gallons. It's the opposite of what you'd expect, maybe, but we have much more success with cloth than disposables at night.

If you've pre-stuffed your pockets, at changing time you just grab it and put it on like a disposable. The inserts are fairly thin so these do not have the bulkiness of prefolds. The fleece inside keeps your baby feeling dry. And since poop does not stick to the fleece, poop is easy to dump out and doesn't stain them. Ease of use, ease of wear, ease of clean, AND fun cute colors? What more could you ask of a waste containment system?

Now, these diapers may seem expensive at $17-18 each. But keep in mind that you are using them many times, even for more than one child. And the bumGenius 3.0 have an amazing one-size design--they snap down/unsnap to three different sizes so you can use the same diaper throughout your child's diaper years, 8 pounds to 35 pounds. So if they work for you, they're all you need. (Fuzzi Bunz and others come in sizes so you would probably need two or more sets.)

One other kind of diaper: all-in-one. This is exactly what it sounds like--everything sewn together, absorbent part on the inside with waterproof outside, goes on just like a disposable except it's cloth. We have one of these and it's okay, but it takes a long time to dry, and this is an expensive way to go. Really nice for the diaper bag or babysitter, though.

My recommendations: Different people like different diapers and have different budgets (and some have sewing skills to really keep it cheap), but if I were starting over right now, I would probably just buy pockets, and I would recommend the bumGenius one-size. For $400 you (or I) could have an abundance (21) of bumGenius for one child and use those same diapers for the next child to come along because they fit all sizes. If you had two in diapers at once, you might have to wash more often or want buy a few more, but it would be simpler than having a bunch of different kinds/sizes and more cost effective--definitely less painful than buying diapers for two, I'm sure!

I'm telling you, cloth diapers don't have to be big and bulky (though I find no harm in that if it keeps her dry all night). They can be colorful and cute, and I'd much rather see a little bright color sticking out the top of her pants on occasion than a long tail of paper with Mickey Mouse on it. (Must even the pee-catchers be advertisements? She doesn't even watch TV yet but she should be brand-imprinted to like that annoying Elmo?) I'm not going to offer photos here, but my girl frolicking in her pink diaper? Oh yeah, that's off the charts adorableness. My baby's diaper bum is cuter than your baby's diaper bum!

And with that . . . the fashion show! Today's model will be The Cow. Despite her fat tummy and super thin legs, The Cow thinks her diapers fit just moooo-velously!

Here The Cow shows off this year's hot diaper accessory, the Snappi diaper fastener. Pair it with a simple, classic white prefold--instant "Snappi casual"!

For fab fitted fashion, try a Kissaluvs size 1, seen here in a lovely lemony snickety shade.

The Cow is really feeling glamorous in this bumGenius 3.0 one-size pocket diaper, set on medium. Work it, Cow, work it!

If your child has a tail, you can simply stick it out the top.

Ah, freedom of moooo-vement! Doing the splits is a snap in this bold red Fuzzi Bunz pocket diaper.

And in this fun and funky Bummis all-in-one, Cow can even do a headstand!

And . . . that oughta answer the question of What do you do at home when you're not working?

Any tips from you other cloth diaper users? If anyone's thinking of giving cloth diapers a shot, let me know if you want advice--obviously I kind of enjoy this subject!


Jenny said...

Thanks for the scoop on poop! Some days I think that you're not quite right...but the cow did make a mooo-velous model! I really considered the Bumgenius pockets. At the time, I just couldn't bring myself to take the plunge, but the longer I'm a mama, the crunchier I get!

pmfh said...

The "rolling off" phrase you're seeking is "like water off a duck's back" -- as canonized in Far Side, of course.

"And . . . that oughta answer the question of What do you do at home when you're not working?"

-- the answer, of course, is "change diapers"!! (Did this today, when I wasn't rocking him or carrying him about.)

paige said...

Somewhere in my crafty cavern, I have a pattern for converting a felted wool sweater into a diaper cover. Wool is breathable and waterproof(ish) and doesn't need to be washed. I made a few to take to Ethiopia. They were super cheap--I bought wool sweaters at the thrift store on a bargain day. Let me know if you'd like the pattern too.

wmw said...

My dear brother, changing diapers IS working! You just gave away that you are not staying home EVERY day. ;)

Oh paige, I have nearly no crafty skillz...I might like to buy a wool cover off of you if you ever make more and are willing to part with one, though...

Us said...

That cow cracks me up. And those diapers are really adorable.

RMMcDowell said...

I'm with everyone else on the cow. Great fashion show. You should be a writer. ;)

If it were just me and I was just getting started, I'd be sold. But I now have both a husband (who won't believe it 'til he sees it) AND no money to get me started . . . really it was the pink polka dots that sold me. And the cow, of course. If we decide to have a third, then maybe we'll buy a little at a time. Of course, we could also do that now. But have I mentioned that I'm lazy? And broke.