Friday, May 22, 2009

Converting to Cloth

Here I am on my second punkin and I've just now discovered the ease of cloth diapers. Why did I so quickly dismiss them with my first? Maybe because becoming a mom was enough of a transition and disposable diapers were brainless and easy. Those are good reasons. But with my darling second I went for it. Partly because several friends were making the switch and partly because I had been infant potty training him (more on that later), I gave it a second look.

And to my surprise, cloth diapers aren't what they used to be. I had always remembered pictures of my mother standing in front of clotheslines full of thick, white masts of fabric flapping in the wind. Nope. Now they come with all kinds of bells and whistles. They snap. They Velcro. They come in all kinds of bold colors and cute prints. They're adorable and surprisingly very functional. I dare say they hold up to leaks better than the disposables. And they're soft, oh so soft.

I started cloth diapers when my second was about 4 months old. I'll give you a run-down of what I did and what I've learned.
I researched just a tad but mostly relied on the experience of others I knew. Several friends steered me toward their favorite brands and styles and I also sought advice from the owner of an online cloth diaper store {}.

Fuzzi Bunz and bumGenius pocket diapers stood out as the best. To begin, I bought 10 diapers - a couple Fuzzi Bunz size Medium, a bumGenius all-in-one size Medium, and the rest were bumGenius one-size. The total cost in diapers was around $150 after two $10 off coupons from That's about the equivalent cost of four months of disposable diapers. Not an outrageous initial investment.

As for the different diapers I bought, I found that all of them work very well. Both brands are reasonable - around $18 per diaper and each comes with the cloth insert. (Some brands, like Happy Heiny are around the same cost but require you to buy the insert separately.) bumGenius comes with a full-size insert and an extra "doubler" insert.

Fuzzi Bunz Review

Fuzzi Bunz uses snaps and tends to leak occasionally. I bought size Medium in the Fuzzi Bunz since my baby was just at the lower end of the weight range (15 lbs.) and would surely be potty trained by the time he hit the maximum weight of 30+ lbs. for that size. The Fuzzi Bunz aren't as bulky as the bumGenius. Although, I've found that using any type of cloth diaper means that your baby's pants fit more snug than using a disposable.

bumGenius Review
I bought one all-in-one bumGenius in a size Medium and while I liked the diaper, I found that it absorbs more odor than the pocket diapers with the removeable inserts. Plus, you can only use the diaper for as long as the baby remains within the size guidelines.

The one-size bumGenius pocket diapers are by far my favorite. They come with the full-size insert AND a smaller "doubler" insert that works well in addition to the full-size for overnight. The Velcro makes diaper changes easier and faster than the snaps and I have never had a leaky diaper using these. In fact, one morning we woke the kids up early to leave town and put them straight into the car in their PJs. I wasn't able to stop and change diapers until nearly 9:30 am. I had put my baby to bed at 7:00 the night before so he had been in the same diaper for over 12 hours. And to my surprise, though the diaper was really heavy, it hadn't leaked at all! A disposable would have been a leaky mess by that point. So two thumbs up for the bumGenius one-size. Besides being a great diaper, it's the most economical choice because it can be used from infancy through toddlerhood.

Diaper Care

Once I decided which diapers to buy, I researched how to care for them. Charlie's Soap is a natural detergent that is highly recommended for cloth diapers. Because of the technology of the fabric used in modern cloth diapering, it's important to wash them in natural soap that doesn't contain any fillers or fragrances. These can build up in the diapers which diminishes their absorbency and life. Charlie's Soap costs around $12 per bag. Each bag will last 80 loads so the cost is minimal - $0.15 per load. I've been using cloth diapers for 4 months now and am only halfway through my first bag of soap.

After I change each diaper, I simply rinse it out in the sink, squeeze the excess water out and put it in a wet bag like this Swaddlebees one.

For poopy diapers, I use Biokleen Bac-Out. It is a non-toxic stain and odor remover that is safe for cloth diapers. I just rinse out the diaper, spray it with Bac-Out and rub it in.

I only have 10 diapers so I wash anywhere from every other day to every third day. At first I thought I'd want to get more diapers to stretch out the washing, but I've realized I wouldn't want the diapers to sit for much longer between washes.

I wash the diapers in my front-loading machine on normal wash with hot water. I set it to a water only pre-wash and an extra rinse at the end. I dry them on medium-high heat in the dryer. Hanging them on a clothesline outside to dry is also recommended to keep them bright and odor-free.

I haven't had much trouble with odor. Only recently did I notice a residual smell in them after washing. I soaked them in a tub filled with water and a cup of baking soda. That took care of it!

So, there you have it. My cloth diapering conversion. They're not nearly as much trouble as I first assumed and I'm so glad I switched!


The Alexanders said...

hooray for bumGenius one size! I am so thankful these are the diapers I happened to pick. I love them! I have been meaning to blog about my cloth diapers as well so I can show my friends and family that I am not crazy! Maybe I'll get around to that soon.

The Westcott's said...

So many mixed reviews on cloth sister did not like using them at all. Do you think it would be a lot harder if your baby pooped several times a day in the cloth? L gives me three to four good ones each day...and never at the same time. That's what keeps me from trying.

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