Cloth Diapering Update: What Real Life Experience Has Taught Me

I think it’s about time that I wrote an update to my original posts about cloth diapering.  I love it when I get a chance to talk to people about cloth diapers, especially someone who’s just beginning to consider cloth or is just starting to delve into the world of cloth diapers.  It always brings me right back to the time when I was pregnant with Alex and trying to make sense of all the options and advice out there.  It can be confusing, overwhelming, and daunting!  No, cloth diapering is nothing new (our grandmothers all did it, after all), but, unlike our grandmothers, we have a lot more choices now.  Cloth diapering is more convenient than ever, but the decisions are more difficult.

While I was pregnant the first time, I wrote a post detailing exactly what diapers we purchased to begin with before Alex was born, including prices, pictures, and where we bought them.  At the end there is a summary of the different types of cloth diapers, because that was really confusing for me at first.

Now, here is a short update on what I’ve learned since actually using cloth diapers for two years.  Our original stash was a good one, but there are just a few things we’ve learned along the way:

Types of Diapers-

  1. We really love using prefolds and I would absolutely recommend them as your primary diaper.  P.S. We quit using Snapis a long time ago.  We simply tri-fold them and lay them in the cover.  Snapis might still be nice for really little babies, but once Alex got a little bigger tri-folding was the way to go.  I’ll let you know if we use snapis again with the new baby.

    a size 2 prefold, before initial stripping

    a size 2 prefold, before initial stripping

  2. We have accumulated a few different brands of all-in-ones, but didn’t find them as reliable as the good old prefold and cover.  They are more likely to leak & aren’t as versatile.  They are easier, though, especially for grandparents or babysitters.
  3. We DO love pocket diapers, specifically several Kawaii pockets which we have gotten for free with our orders from Kelly’s Closet.  They’re easy to use, a little more trim than a prefold, and they keep the wetness off of baby’s skin.  Downsides: no double gussets for extra poo insurance, they aren’t made of that nice organic cotton like our prefolds, and you have to wash the whole thing after one use.

    a couple of our Kawaii brand pockets

       a couple of our Kawaii brand pockets

Sizes of Diapers and Covers-

  1. You can get by with using one-size diapers and covers, but I would recommend getting some that come in at least a couple of different sizes.  The one-size diapers can be really bulky on a tiny baby, even after they’ve left the newborn stage.  Another option is to just use disposables for the first couple of weeks until your baby grows into the one-size diapers a little more, but if one of your reasons for cloth diapering includes protecting your baby from the chemicals in sposies, that may not appeal to you. Alex was 8 pounds at birth, so if he was swallowed up in a one-size diaper, a 5 or 6 pound baby would be even more so.  Buying 2 sizes of prefolds and covers wasn’t a huge expense (and we didn’t have to buy the second size right away), but I recognize that if you’re going with pockets or all-in-ones as your main diaper then it’s going to get a little more expensive.  See my post about our beginning stash to compare prices.

    a package of size 2 prefolds

            a package of size 2 prefolds

Number of Diapers

  1. Although the number of prefolds we started out with (24) would have been ok if that was all we could afford, we did end up with another dozen or so to safeguard against running out.  You should estimate that your newborn is going to use at least 12-18 diapers a day at first, so if you only want to wash diapers every other day….. well, you can do the math.
  2. We started out with 6 covers and I think we now have at least 10.  If your baby doesn’t poop as often as ours you will maybe be ok with 6, but certainly no fewer than that!  Once a cover has been pooped in, you pretty much need to wash it.

Types of Covers

  1. We have answered the big velcro vs. snaps question for ourselves.  Definitely snaps.  Takes a little more time to fasten but lasts longer and looks better after a few months of use.
  2. We have tried a few different types of covers and our favorites, hands down, are Thirsties Duo Wrap covers.  We love the gussets for keeping everything in where it should be!  They come in 2 sizes.

    Thirsties Duo Wrap Cover photo source: kellyscloset.com

    Thirsties Duo Wrap Cover
    photo source: kellyscloset.com

Washing Cloth Diapers-

I also wrote a post before Alex was born about washing diapers, and not much has changed, but here are some points to recap:

  1. My husband actually, somehow, became the diaper-washer in our house, something I am A-ok with! He faithfully soaks them every other night, turns on the washer on when he wakes up in the morning, and usually puts them in the dryer before he leaves for work.
  2. We have always used a dry pail in the nursery (with a step-lever lid), and it’s totally the way to go.  We put a big wet bag inside, and then just pull the whole thing out when it’s time to wash.

    Kangarooz Pail Liner photo source: kellyscloset.com

    Kangarooz Pail Liner
    photo source: kellyscloset.com

  3. We still use and are happy with Charlie’s Soap (we actually use it for all of our laundry now), we use baking soda and vinegar for odor control, and we use a bit of peroxide to disinfect.  When we need to strip our diapers, we just wash them with some blue dawn and then give them lots and lot of rinses.
  4. We give our prefolds, pockets, all-in-ones, covers, and wet bags the same wash treatment, but we let our covers and wet bags air dry to prolong their life.  The covers dry very quickly on top of the dryer or hung on the laundry room shelf.  Every once in awhile we pop them into the dryer to make sure the PUL stays properly sealed.
  5. The sun is still our favorite way to get rid of stains, although (confession time) we’ve been super lazy about sunning them recently.  I’ve been thinking about where to put up a clothesline, however, so we can get back to that, especially once we’re dealing with those super stainy breastfed poops again…… in only a couple more months!!!!

I hope the things I’ve learned will be helpful to you.  I always welcome questions on things I might not have mentioned.  Happy cloth diapering!!!!

A Day in the Life- Eight Weeks Old pt. 2

Hi it’s me, Alex.  I’m going to tell you about what a day in my life is like.  Mommy did a pretty good job yesterday, but who could know about my day better than me?  Also, I was eight weeks old yesterday, not today.  Mommy got it wrong.  She said something about it being because she hasn’t slept since I was born or something like that, but it all sounded like a big excuse to me.

Anyway, here’s what I did today:

10:30pm (last night)-1:25am I fell asleep in bed next to Daddy and I guess Mommy moved me over by her after I was already asleep because when I woke up that’s where I was.  Mommy didn’t take a picture of this because it was really dark.  She looked really tired, but I didn’t care because I was super super hungry!

1:26am For some reason, Mommy decided to change my diaper instead of feeding me!  This made me really upset, so I screamed really loudly the whole time to try to let her know that I was HUNGRY!!

1:36am- 1:49 am I guess all the crying I did really worked because Mommy fed me!  It made me so happy and really sleepy too.

1:50am- 4:35am I slept beside Mommy this whole time.

4:37am-5:02am Yay, Mommy fed me right away this time!  I know she loves to change my diaper, though, so I made sure I did a nice big poopy while she was feeding me.  I thought it would give her something to look forward to for after I was done eating.

5:05am Mommy changed my diaper.  I hope she liked it.

5:58am-8:25am I’d been pretty tired after all the milk Mommy fed me, but the diaper change really woke me up, so it took me awhile to get to sleep.  Mommy held me, though, and I finally was able to sleep.
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8:26am-8:57am I was REALLY hungry this time, so I drank a lot of Mommy’s milk, and from both sides, too.
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When I was full, Mommy let me sit facing her and she sang some songs with me and took some pictures of me. I had a lot of fun.  Mommy smiled at me and I was really happy so I smiled back!  Mommy ate the plate of food Daddy had brought her before he went wherever he goes every day.  She said it was cold but still good.  I prefer milk myself.
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9:27am I had made another nice poopy for Mommy, so she changed my diaper.  Then she took me back to the bed and said it was time for a nap.  She let me lay on the left side of her this time since Daddy wasn’t there.  After she held me and rocked me for a few minutes, I went to sleep.
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10:10am-12pm I took my first nap of the day.  Mommy said she was really tired and slept too.  I think I actually woke up before she did, silly Mommy.
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12:01pm-12:11pm When I woke up, I was feeling pretty happy at first, but then I got extremely hungry, so Mommy fed me.
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After I ate, we did some talking and singing again, but Mommy kept saying stuff about my diaper.  She was afraid it was going to leak; I’m not sure why.
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12:20pm  I made another big poo for Mommy.  I try to be a good boy like that.
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After I had a clean diaper on, Mommy put me in the thing she calls a “crib” and said she had to “get ready for the day”.  She says this every morning, I’ve noticed.  That’s ok.  I like to lay in my crib and look at stuff.  There’s also this giraffe that plays music.  Mommy makes it sing after every diaper change, probably because she’s so happy about what I did.
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12:35pm I got tired of being in my crib, so Mommy put me on this round circle on the floor.  There are some things hanging over my head when I lay on it, and I guess they’re interesting.  It’s a lot more fun when Mommy makes them do sounds.  I like to watch her face when they squeak and stuff.  I think she really enjoys it.  This time, though, she didn’t play with them very long.  I guess she was still getting “ready for the day”, so she gave me duda and left.
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12:45pm Uh-oh!!  Mommy came in and said that my diaper was leaking onto the green circle!
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She put another diaper on me and then I had to lay in the “crib” while she took the green thing apart.  I guess my diaper had leaked all the way through it onto the carpet and Mommy put her knee in it by accident.  It was really funny, but I tried hard not to laugh because Mommy didn’t.
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Mommy had taken off my jammies when they got pee-peed on, so she put some daytime clothes on me.  There’s an elephant on my butt.  I guess I’m ok with that, but I’d rather have it where I can see it.  Maybe on Mommy’s clothes.

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After all that, I was really really tired.  Thankfully, Mommy put me in the sling and bounced on the blue ball with me to help me go to sleep.
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1:05pm-1:40pm I woke up, but I wasn’t in the sling anymore!  Mommy must have moved me to this other green place on the floor.  I hate it when she does that.
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It was pretty comfy, though, so I just looked around for awhile after I woke up.  Because Mommy watches me while I nap, I get to sleep on my side and be covered with a fuzzy blanket. This is much better for me than on my back because I don’t spit up as much.  Every time I spit up, it wakes me up and then I have a hard time getting back to sleep.
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Then I cried to let Mommy know I was hungry.  She was eating something strange on a plate.  She always eats the most bizarre things.  I don’t know why she would want to eat anything that’s not milk, especially when she has so much of it!
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1:52pm-2:00pm I drank some of Mommy’s milk, but I only took 8 minutes.  I spit up a lot afterward and I cried because it hurt my throat 😦
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Mommy put me in my bouncy chair while she finished eating that stuff on the plate, but I didn’t really want to be in there.  She put me in her lap, but I couldn’t see the skylights very well from there.  Finally she put me on the Boppy pillow and I carefully studied the skylights for several minutes… until I spit up again, which made me really upset.
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2:30pm Mommy told me I must be tired (Hmmm, she might be right), and she took me to get my diaper changed before naptime.  After that she put me in this long green piece of stuff that she has to wrap around her first (I hate that it takes her so long to do this), and bounced me on the blue ball again.
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3:00pm-4:29pm I slept in the green wrap thingy.  When I woke up I was pretty hungry again.

4:30pm-4:52pm Mommy fed me.  Yum!

5:08pm-5:12pm I guess Mommy thought I was done eating the first time.  Maybe it was because I kinda fell asleep…. Sometimes I can trick her this way.  She thinks I’m full, but…. I’M NOT!  It’s hilarious.  Anyway, I wanted to eat again a little bit, and THEN I fell asleep for real.

5:15pm-6:34pm I fell asleep on Mommy, and I guess then she moved me to that green thing on the floor.  I actually had a  pretty good sleep for awhile all snuggled up in my blanket.   I felt pretty happy when I woke up, and I smiled at Mommy while she changed my wet diaper.  Also, Daddy was home, which was AWESOME!  I really miss him when he’s gone all day.  Mommy told me he goes somewhere called “work”.  I guess it must be really fun if he goes every day.

6:34pm Did I say my diaper was wet?  It was wet AND poopy- YAY!!!

6:42pm-7:07pm After I said hi to Daddy for a minute, Mommy fed me again!  I wasn’t super super hungry, so it was a pretty relaxed meal.  Afterward, Daddy held me for a long time while I looked carefully at all the lights strung around the room.  Mommy says she’s going to take them down because they’re for Christmas (whatever that is), but I really hope she doesn’t because I looooooove to look at them!

7:45pm Daddy changed my diaper because I’d made a nice poopy for him, too!

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8:05pm I fell asleep on Daddy with my duda in my mouth 🙂

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10 minute nap- Fist Pump!!

8:15pm I’m awake again!  Did I sleep long?

8:20pm-8:39pm Mommy fed me 🙂

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8:40pm-8:50pm I fell asleep on Mommy after she fed me, but when she handed me over to Daddy I woke up.  This room is so exciting at night with all the lights to look at!

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8:58pm– I tried so hard to stay awake to look at the lights, but I got super sleepy and couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.  I finally fell asleep and slept for a long time.  I think Daddy fell asleep too.  We both slept so long that when Mommy woke up Daddy it was already too late for my bath (I only know this because I heard them talking about it later when Mommy was nursing me.  I slept until 12:29am.).  I was kinda sad I didn’t have my bath.  When Daddy gives me a nice warm bath it’s one of my favorite parts of the day!  I love love love sitting in the warm water, and I like feeling clean.  I DON’T like how cold it feels when Daddy takes me out of my bath and moves me to my towel- Brrrr!   I always cry a lot so he knows I don’t like it.  If I only cry a little bit, though, he cheers and says “You did it!” so maybe I should try to be more brave about it.  It does feel nice and warm once I get to the towel and Daddy makes me all nice and dry and smiles and kisses me a lot. 🙂  I think Mommy and Daddy need to start doing my bath earlier though because after about 9pm I want to just eat and sleep and that’s it.

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Well, that’s it.  That was my day.  It’s pretty hard work being me, I know, but I really like spending my days with Mommy and getting to see Daddy when he comes home from “work”.  I always know that when I need something Mommy and Daddy will try to figure out what it is.  They don’t always get it right, but at least they try!  They tell me they love me about  a million times a day and I get tons of kisses too.  Oh, and I get cuddles anytime I want, which are the best!  🙂

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How to Wash Cloth Diapers Using Charlie’s Soap

When considering cloth diapers, the big question in people’s minds is: What about all that poopy diaper laundry??  They worry about the time, the extra expense of water and laundry detergent, and the general ick factor they associate with diaper laundry.  My husband worries about the diaper pail smell and tries to convince me that I should launder every day instead of every other day as is my plan- haha!  I’m thinking every other day will be ambitious enough, especially with a newborn baby.  Before I digress, however, let me tell you about my plan for cleaning diapers.  This is based on what I have read from multiple sources and the advice given by other moms before me.  I’m sure it’s not perfect and that I’ll have to make adjustments, but you’ll get to discover along with me whether or not it works out!  I’ve tried to make my explanations as simple and easy-to-follow as possible so that if my plan works flawlessly you could totally copy what I’ve done 🙂

Ok, from the beginning.  I’ve already talked about the kind of cloth diapers I’m using.  I plan  to fold a prefold in thirds (no snappis or pins), set that inside a diaper cover, and put the whole thing on.  That’s it.  Pretty straightforward.  When the diaper needs changing, I’ll throw the prefold into a wet bag-lined, lidded trash can and there it will stay until I do diaper laundry later that day or the next.  I will use the dry pail method, which basically means that I won’t fill the diaper pail with water. (The image of lifting, carrying, and pouring “diaper soup” into the washer was enough to convince me that dry pail is where it’s at.  Also, I’ve seen it recommended over wet pail numerous times.)  Now, we plan to get one of those diaper sprayers that attaches to your toilet and we could rinse the poopies off each time if we choose, but I have heard from many moms that breastfed poos really don’t stink so badly and don’t require rinsing at all.  We’ll see.  If that’s true, we probably won’t have to rinse poopies until Baby is eating some solids (at 6+ months).  If the diaper cover is clean, I’ll simply reuse it.  If it’s dirty, I could wipe in clean, let it dry, and then reuse it, or I could toss it in the pail and wash it with the rest of the diapers.

I just got my kangaroo print pail liner today and I’m in love with it- who doesn’t love little kangaroos in diapers?? 😀

When it comes time to do diaper laundry, I made a little protocol for myself.  Here’s the first draft that I made a couple months ago (I actually framed this and hung it in my laundry room 🙂 ):

NO bleach  •  NO fabric softener  •  1 T Charlie’s Soap per load  •  12-18 Diapers

1.                      Cold Pre-rinse or overnight soak
 
2.                      Hot Wash Cycle with detergent
 
3.                      1st Cold Rinse
 
4.                      2nd Cold Rinse
 
5.                      Dryer or Sunshine

Removing Odors = ½ cup baking soda in pre-rinse,

½ cup vinegar in 1st rinse- prefolds only!

Removing Stains = lemon juice + sun!

Don’t run to copy this down just yet, however, because I’ve tweaked it a little since then, and I’ll explain why later.  First, though, I put at the top some cloth-diaper no-nos: no bleaching or using fabric softener, or you’ll end up with residue substances on your diapers that will decrease absorbency and potentially irritate your baby’s bum.  I also put the amount of detergent that I’d need to use per load and the max number of diapers per load, as well as some reminders at the bottom of what to do if I needed extra help removing stains and odors.

After reading about different baby-safe detergents, I discovered Charlie’s Soap (and it’s actually a detergent, not a soap, despite the name).  It contains zero additives or ingredients that will bind to fabrics and leave a residue behind.  This also means that it doesn’t contain added antibacterial agents (I guess some detergents do?), which means that you will have to disinfect your diapers using something like hydrogen peroxide or vinegar added to your rinse.

I took it out of the original package and put it in a cute little container 🙂

Now, if you do a basic internet study on Charlie’s Soap, you will find mixed information- some people love it and some report some very bad experiences with it involving burn-like rashes.  So what’s the real deal?  Is it a wonderful, cleaning-rinsing detergent or a dangerous, rash-causing toxin?………..

Here’s the information that can be found on the Charlie’s Soap website under frequently asked questions:

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Can Charlie’s Soap be safely used to clean a baby’s diaper?
We believe that clean, dry, residue free and sanitized (frequently changed and disinfected) diapers are best for babies and babies’ bottoms. (See: Mayo Clinic)

Our detergents contain no ingredients or additives that are designed to bind to fabrics; and they contain no antibacterial agents, either. Subsequently, Charlie’s Soap is residue free. Since your results using Charlie’s Soap may vary due to your particular water conditions, your washer and your baby’s sensitivity to bacteria, we suggest you follow a successful procedure like the one listed here.

Our own recommended instructions are available here.

Charlie’s Soap is not a disinfectant. Follow care instructions on your child’s diapers, but make sure to kill bacteria that might have survived the washing process: boiling, sunning, ¼ cup vinger (rinse), ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide (rinse) or 1 tablespoon bleach (wash), etc. Left alone, such bacteria can cause severe, burn-like reactions.
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Based on that information, I believe that people who have had problems with Charlie’s Soap had a build-up of bacteria on their baby’s diapers and needed to use a disinfectant to make sure all bacteria was eliminated.  I love knowing that I’m using a detergent without additives that is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, so I’m absolutely willing to add a disinfectant.

Note: 1 tablespoon of bleach to disinfect is not the same as using a whole bunch of bleach to whiten.  The latter will probably leave some bleach residue on your diapers, in which case you’d just need to run another load with Charlie’s soap to get all of the bleach out.  I was confused about that at first.

I’ve also begun to use Charlie’s Soap on all our regular laundry so I won’t have to worry about any residues being left in our washer between diaper loads.  Per instructions, the first thing I did was to run a hot load of old rags with 2 doses of Charlie’s Soap just to clean everything out, and then I began doing my regular loads.

Anyway, now that we have that stuff out of the way, here’s my new diaper washing protocol (added steps in bold):

NO bleach  •  NO fabric softener  •  1 T Charlie’s Soap per load  •  12-18 Diapers

1.                      Cold Pre-rinse or overnight soak
 
2.                      Hot Wash Cycle with detergent and disinfectant
 
3.                      Cold Wash Cycle with detergent
 
4.                      2 Cold Rinses
 
5.                      Dryer or Sunshine

Disinfecting = ¼ cup peroxide- prefolds only!

Removing Odors = ½ cup baking soda in pre-rinse,

½ cup vinegar in 1st rinse- prefolds only!

Removing Stains = lemon juice + sun!

The one thing I haven’t decided is whether or not I’m going to disinfect every load and, in that case, whether or not I truly cannot use peroxide or vinegar on the diaper covers and wet bags.  That would be a pain because I don’t want to have to separate that stuff.  I also don’t know if that second cold wash with detergent will really be necessary, but it’s what the Charlie’s site recommended, I think to make sure all the disinfecting agent is removed. 

I’ll have to do an update when I’ve figured those two things out, but for now this my plan!  I hope this wasn’t all too confusing for anyone.  I’m sure there are other great diaper-washing detergents out there, but I wanted to share what I’ve learned regarding the one I’m planning to try.  

I would love to get advice from anyone who has successfully used Charlie’s Soap or something similar and has come up with a no-fail washing regime!

My Beginning Cloth Diaper Stash

A few months ago I posted about my research on cloth diapers and my thoughts on what to do at the time.  Well, I’ve since changed my mind a bit, and after just ordering the last of my beginning diaper stash today, I thought I’d update you on my plans.

Basically, I’ve decided to go with prefolds and covers.  I was set on All-In-Ones (AIO’s) for convenience, but realized that #1 I would have no idea going into it which brand(s) would work well for us, #2 they might not be absorbent enough for nighttime if we have a heavy wetter, and #3 there are even more economical options.  AIO’s can be $20+ each, so even though you’re saving a lot of money over disposables in the long run, you’re still spending almost $500 for a beginning stash of two dozen diapers.  For these reasons, I decided to start with a full stash of prefolds and then try other types of cloth diapers at our convenience.

I bought my diapers from kellyscloset.com.  They seemed to have the best selection of all the cloth diapers and accessories that I needed, and I always got free shipping with their deals.   I ordered most of my diapers and covers and a couple of wetbags a few weeks ago and then today ordered again since a couple of the covers I wanted weren’t in stock the first time.  Plus, I ordered an AIO and SIO (snap-in-one) to try out.  I also got a couple more wetbags, this time from Amazon since kellyscloset didn’t have the patterns in stock that I wanted (and I got tired of waiting)  🙂

So.  Here’s the complete breakdown of exactly what I bought and how much it all cost, complete with pictures for the visual learners out there (that’s me!):

From Kelly’s Closet-

Bummis Organic Cotton Unbleached Prefold Diapers (they come in packs of 6)

  • Size 1 (infant 7-20 lbs, 12″x16″)
  • 24 diapers= $72

 

 

 

Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover

  • Size 1 (6-18 lbs)
  • Closure: SNAPS
  • Color: Hoot
  • 1 cover= $13.75

 

 

 

 

 

Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover

  • Size 1 (6-18 lbs)
  • Closure: Aplix
  • Color: Meadow
  • 1 cover= $12.75

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rumparooz Diaper Cover

  • Size: Newborn
  • Closure: Aplix
  • Color / Print: Kangarooz
  • 1 cover= $12

 

 

 

 

Hiney Lineys Versa Cover

  • One Size
  • Closure: Hook and Loop
  • Color: Yellow
  • 1 cover= $16.95

 

 

Econobum Cloth Diaper Covers

  • One Size
  • Cover Trim Color: White
  • 2 covers= $17.90 (these were recommended to me by a friend and are some of the most economical covers you can purchase)

 

 

 

Planet Wise Wet Bags

  • Size: Medium
  • Design/Color: Orange Woods
  • 1 wetbag (to use in the diaper bag)= $16.50

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rumparooz/Kanga Care Pail Liners

  • Color/Print: Platinum
  • 1 pail liner (I’ll line a lidded trash can with this and it will be our diaper pail)= $18.97

 

 

 

 

 

GroVia® All In One Stay Dry Newborn Cloth Diaper

  • Size: Newborn
  • Print: Bicycles (this print was for my husband, who loves mountain biking 🙂  I hope he likes it)
  • 1 AIO= $14.95

 

 

 

 

itti bitti bitti d’lish SNAP-in-One (SIO) Cloth Diaper (I decided to try this diaper because you can use it as an AIO or, if you purchase extra snap-ins, you can potentially just replace the insert and reuse the outer part until it’s soiled)

  • Size: Small
  • Color: Turquoise
  • 1 SIO= $19.97

 

 

 

 

 

From Amazon-

Planet Wise Diaper Wet Bag

  • Size: Medium
  • Color/Pattern: Bumble Dot
  • 1 wet bag= $16.50

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kanga Care Pail Liner

  • Color/Pattern: Kangarooz
  • 1 pail liner= $18.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

Prefolds- 24
Diaper Covers- 6
Medium Wet Bags- 2
Large Wet Bags/Pail Liners- 2
AIO’s- 2

Total Spent on Beginning Stash= $251.19

I tried to get a variety of covers- different brands, different closures (snap or velcro), and different sizings (some one-size, some sized).  Hopefully by the time I need to get more covers (when baby has grown out of the size ones), I’ll have some idea of the brands I prefer.

I guess the amount of time this stash will last us really depends on the size of our baby.  Eventually we will need the next size of prefolds and covers.  I will also probably get some hemp doublers eventually, if we need them for extra absorption at night and stuff.  For now, though, we’re all set!  So I spent about $250, an average price for a cloth diaper start-up, and it could have been even less if I hadn’t bought the AIOs, two of each size of wet bag, had bought all Econobum covers, and had bought non-organic prefolds.  I still plan to make some cloth wipes by cutting pieces of flannel into squares and hemming the edges.  More on that later.  The only other cloth diaper related expenditure I’ve made so far is some Charlie’s Soap for washing- about $25 for detergent to last 80 loads and some pre-spray.

So that’s my stash!  We’ll see how it works.  I can’t wait for the last few dipes and bags I ordered today to arrive in the mail!  🙂

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In case you missed my previous post, here’s  the overview of the different types of cloth diapers:

  • Flats– these are the oldest kind of cloth diapers and are probably what your mother or grandmother used. Disadvantages: They require folding and pinning with pins or Snappis, and you must use a waterproof diaper cover.  Advantages:  They dry very quickly and are the most inexpensive option ($20 for a dozen-  less than $2 each)
  • Prefolds– these diapers are similar to flats, but have several layers.  Disadvantages: They also require folding or pinning, and a waterproof cover.  Advantages: They are very economical ($1.75-$5 each) and extremely absorbent.
  • Fitteds– they look like disposables and fasten with snaps or velcro.  They come in a variety of cute colors and prints.  Disadvantages: Like prefolds and flats, a waterproof cover must be used, and they will cost more than a simple prefold ($8-$25 each).  Advantages: No pinning or folding is required and they are still very absorbent.  A variety of commercial and homemade fitted diapers are available.
  • All-In-One’s (AIO’s)– these diapers, like fitted, and pocket diapers, look like disposables and fasten with velcro or snaps.  Advantages: They combine the absorbent part of the diaper with the waterproofing of the cover.  Basically, they come as one piece and are extremely simple to use.  The only difference between these and disposable diapers is that you wash them after use instead of throwing them away. Disadvantages: Some people find them less absorbent than fitteds or prefolds, and you don’t always have the option to increase their absorbency when needed as you do with pocket diapers.  They are also more expensive then prefolds ($15 each for newborn sizes, $22-$30 each for other sizes or one-size).
  • Pocket Diapers– this type of diaper is basically a waterproof cover with a fleece liner into which you may stuff any absorbent material, from specially made stuffers to prefolds.  Advantages: The fleece liner keeps the baby dry, and the absorbent material can be chosen based on the absorbency you are looking for.  These diapers are also quite easy to use.  Disadvantages: They aren’t quite as straightforward as an AIO, and they cost more than prefolds ($15-$25 each).

Diaper Bag Mania

So I’ve been obsessed lately with diaper bags. I never ever thought I would reach this point. I mean, my favorite carry-on bag is one of those large reusable shopping bags with the cute prints that you can get at Marshalls or Bed Bath & Beyond (seriously though, they are awesome), I’m NOT into labels, and I’ve honestly never spent more than $30 on a purse or handbag.

But then I began to look at diaper bags.  I don’t know if it’s that I’ve never used a diaper bag before and am therefore more apt to listen when people tell me horror stories of their bags falling apart after 7 weeks (I’ve never heard stories like this about cheap purses), or if it’s just another part of that whole nesting/baby-gear obsessing thing, but suddenly I’m taking the diaper bag decision very seriously.  VERY seriously.  Maybe too seriously.  Or maybe not, to listen to other women talk about their diaper bags.

Anyway, I wasn’t prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on this bag, but I also wasn’t reaching for the nearest $20 bag and calling it good.  I do have a few definite requirements that helped prompt me to spend a little more.

For one thing, I don’t want to carry a separate purse.  The thought of having a baby to carry plus a diaper bag plus a car seat or stroller or baby carrier or whatever else intimidates me enough already as it is, and I can’t handle the thought of one more thing dangling from my shoulder.  So #1 the diaper bag has to be cute and look enough like a handbag and I will want to carry it around, baby or not.

#2, I want something that will last.  In keeping with our general philosophy of buying most of our baby stuff just once (hence the double stroller, 2 car seats, and high chair with a million options) so we’ll pretty much be set for the minimum of two children that we’re planning, I would like this diaper bag to last several years and several (or a couple) children.  I figure this gives me some rationalization for spending a bit more (I pretty much always have to rationalize spending money).

…I thought I had a #3, but I guess not.

My Top 6

So, after lots of reading and some Facebook-polling, I came up with these favorites- all under $100, which was kind of my price limit in the end:

Skip Hop Versa (in cream links)- $69.99 at Buy Buy Baby and other locations (I would buy it at BBB with a 20% off coupon)  🙂

This one appealed to me because of the price and the fact that it was expandable (but when you zip it up and hide that orange part it is really kinda boring looking).  It also has plenty of pockets and zips so stuff doesn’t fall out.

JJ Cole Satchel (in stone arbor)- $69.99 at Buy Buy Baby (and don’t forget that 20% off coupon 🙂 )

I really liked this one, for some reason.  Well, I do know a few reasons.  For one thing, it’s grey and then the lining is pink (I decided I could absolutely have a feminine bag even if the baby is a boy because this bag is for me!  🙂  Also, there are tons of outside pockets, which made me think that reaching for certain things would be so easy.  It also zips, has a shoulder strap, stroller hooks, and matching changing pad.  It’s pretty roomy and structured enough to suit me.  The low price was also a definite pull for this bag.

Timi & Leslie Hannah (in rouge)- $98.99 directly from Timi & Leslie

A friend who has gone through 4 diaper bags in one year and finally settled on a Timi & Leslie recommended these to me.  Unfortunately, a lot of them (like the Charlie tote) are really floppy and kinda heavy (my husband referred to all of them as floppy gaudy old lady bags.  Harsh.).  I wanted something light with more structure so it wouldn’t feel frustrating to carry it or attempt to get something out of it.  This one is a lot less floppy than the Charlie and I liked the price.  I’m not sure why this red one was cheaper, but it was.  I also loved that it comes with a matching clutch for my personal stuff.  I DIDN’T like that it was still kinda floppy and heavier than some other bags I looked at.  Also, I’m not sure this one has a zipper.

Timi & Leslie Dawn (in raspberry)- $119.99 on Amazon and at Babies R Us (ok, this is not under $100 so it doesn’t really belong on the list, but I had it on there anyway I guess)

I’m not really sure why I included this more expensive bag in my favorites, but I think that was before I actually got to look at some Timi & Leslie bags in the store.  Also, I was kinda mesmerized by the extras it comes with.  And the shocking purple/pink color.  I did see this bag at Buy Buy Baby and ruled it out based on the same reasons stated above for the Hannah bag.

Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel (in santiago sunset)- $89 on the Petunia Outlet website (semi-annual sale!)

I’ve heard basically nothing but good things about Petunia Pickle Bottom bags, but they’re normally above my price range ($120-$170), so when I realized that the fall outlet sale was still on for a few days I got pretty excited.  I had heard that backpacks make very handy diaper bags, and PPB just happens to have two bags that can be used as backpacks: the Sashay Satchel and the Boxy Backpack.  I prefer the look of the Sashay Satchel.  Pattern options on sale were limited, but I liked this one (anything with grey in it always catches my eye).  I love that it has regular handbag straps, but then converts to a backpack.  I like the size, the durability, and the key clip inside.  It’s also very structured (no floppiness here).  I guess my only downsides with this one would be that it doesn’t come with stroller straps (they can be bought separately, but I’m not sure where they attach).  It comes with a matching changing pad and wipes case.  I couldn’t find any Sashay Satchel to actually look at in the store, which I thought was strange and disappointing.

Petunia Pickle Bottom Wistful Weekend (in indelible iris)- $99.99 on Amazon (for some reason this particular pattern was selling for a whole lot less than some others)

I spent a long time looking at the Wistful Weekender in the store (never saw this pattern in person, just the style).  It’s a nice big bag and looked very well-made (when compared to the JJ Cole Satchel, which had a much cheaper-looking lining) and, like all Petunia Pickle Bottom bags, has a very cheerful and stylish pattern.  I really loved all the inside pockets, the key clip, and the fact that you can expand it by unsnapping the sides.  But is it TOO big?  I was afraid I would just end up carrying a LOT more than I really needed on a day-to-day basis.  There also is no shoulder strap and it doesn’t come with stroller clips, but it does have a changing pad and wipes case.

(Side note: I know a lot of people like the Ju Ju Be, but I really didn’t like the way they looked as much as some others, which is why they didn’t merit my serious consideration.  Plus, they’re usually above the $100 range.)

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My two favorites were actually the JJ Cole Satchel and the Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel (I must like that satchel word….).  The were both a good size, light enough, attractive, and seemed to suit my organizational needs.

My final choice? 

The Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel!  When I compared JJ Cole and PPB side-by-side in the store, I just felt that the Pickle Bottom would last me a lot longer and, since I had the opportunity to get such a good deal, I went for it!  The bag I bought qualified for the outlet sale because it was a “certified second”, which means that it had a slight imperfection that made them unable to sell it at regular price.  I have no idea what the imperfection will be, but I’m really not worried.  I’m excited about the fun pattern and the backpack option, and I can’t wait for it to arrive!!

If you have used any of the bags that were on my top six list, I’d love to hear how well you liked them.  Or, if there is a bag I should have considered but didn’t, I’d love to hear about that too!

Cloth Diapers…. So Many Choices!!

I’ve previously done some research on the topic of cloth vs. disposable diapers, and my husband and I agree that cloth will work for us. I plan to stay home with the baby, so he/she won’t be going to daycare or anything, and I will be home enough that I can do the extra required laundry (ugh-laundry-my favorite). So then the next step was to try to decide what kind of cloth diapers to get and how many.

I found this great step-by-step that helps you do a little compare and contrast on all the types of cloth diapers out there, from flat cloth diapers (think old-style with the safety pins and everything) to All-In-Ones (basically just like disposables except you wash and reuse them).  They range in price (the simpler they are, they more expensive they get), but overall you will still save money using any type of cloth diaper over disposables.

I was incredibly confused when I first started looking at all the different types of cloth diapers!  It can be overwhelming when you are first delving into the cloth-diaper world (amidst all the other important decisions you must make before baby is born), so let me break it down for you as I see it:

  • Flats– these are the oldest kind of cloth diapers and are probably what your mother or grandmother used. Disadvantages: They require folding and pinning with pins or Snappis, and you must use a waterproof diaper cover.  Advantages:  They dry very quickly and are the most inexpensive option ($20 for a dozen-  less than $2 each)
  • Prefolds– these diapers are similar to flats, but have several layers.  Disadvantages: They also require folding, pinning, and a waterproof cover.  Advantages: They are very economical ($1.75-$5 each) and extremely absorbent.
  • Fitteds– they look like disposables and fasten with snaps or velcro.  They come in a variety of cute colors and prints.  Disadvantages: Like prefolds and flats, a waterproof cover must be used, and they will cost more than a simple prefold ($8-$25 each).  Advantages: No pinning is required and they are still very absorbent.  A variety of commercial and homemade fitted diapers are available.
  • All-In-One’s (AIO’s)– these diapers, like fitted, and pocket diapers, look like disposables and fasten with velcro or snaps.  Advantages: They combine the absorbent part of the diaper with the waterproofing of the cover.  Basically, they come as one piece and are extremely simple to use.  The only difference between these and disposable diapers is that you wash them after use instead of throwing them away. Disadvantages: Some people find them less absorbent than fitteds or prefolds, and you don’t always have the option to increase their absorbency when needed as you do with pocket diapers.  They are also more expensive then prefolds ($15 each for newborn sizes, $22-$30 each for other sizes or one-size).
  • Pocket Diapers– this type of diaper is basically a waterproof cover with a fleece liner into which you may stuff any absorbent material, from specially made stuffers to prefolds.  Advantages: The fleece liner keeps the baby dry, and the absorbent material can be chosen based on the absorbency you are looking for.  These diapers are also quite easy to use.  Disadvantages: They aren’t quite as straightforward as an AIO, and they cost more than prefolds ($15-$25 each).

To potentially complicate things, cloth diapers come in different sizes as well.  There are some pocket and AIO diapers that have a one-size fit (they are adjustable for a range of baby bottoms), but they don’t always cover the really small newborn sizes (they may go from 12 to 35 pounds, for example, but your newborn isn’t likely to be 12 pounds from the get-go!).
Another matter to consider is how many you will need.  The recommendation given by the step-by-step guide (and the one I’m going by) is that you will need 20-24 diapers for a newborn to 4 months, 16-20 diapers for a baby 4-10 months, and 12-16 diapers for a child 10+ months.

So there you have it.  Most people don’t use flats anymore, but I do have a friend who used prefolds with her son and seemed very happy with them.  So far I’m thinking that the AIO is the best choice for us since it seems to be the simplest.  I need to research pocket diapers a little more, though.  Who knows, maybe we won’t know for sure what works for us until we try them.  I went ahead and made a registry just for diapers, though, more for my peace of mind than anything else (putting something on a registry makes me feel like it’s “decided”).

I decided to have special newborn diapers and then use one-size diapers after that.  I chose a mixture of Rumparooz Lil Joey Newborn Diapers, GroVia Organic Newborn AIO Cloth Diapers, and Kissaluv’s All-In-One Newborn Cloth Diapers for the newborn sizes.  I like the Kissaluv’s and the Rumparooz because they have a special button in the front so you can get the diaper out of the way of the umbilical cord.  I like the GroVia because they are organic. (I’ll let you know right now that organic clothing and bedding has been sort of my crazy obsession lately- I just don’t like the thought of chemical stuff being next to my baby’s skin all the time.  Important or not, it makes me feel better.)

 

For the one-size diapers that we’ll use when Baby outgrows the newborn size, I chose bumGenius! Elemental All-In-One One Size Diapers.  Again, I like that they are organic.

So.  Obviously I don’t yet have any personal real-life experience yet with these (or any) cloth diapers, so I’d love to hear from anyone who has used the diapers I plan to buy and has either loved or hated them.  I don’t know, am I making a mistake using AIO’s?  Should I go with pocket diapers for more versatile absorbency or should I not waste my money and just get some good old prefolds?? (I will be purchasing prefolds anyway because they are awesome for a variety of other uses: burp cloths, changing surface, rag to wipe up spills and messes, etc.)

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