Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Consider the Switch!

Are you expecting a baby?  Do you have a baby or young child?  Have you given much thought about what kind of diapers to use?

I'm not talking about whether you should use pampers or huggies but rather cloth or disposable.

Now i know what you must be thinking, 'Cloth, are you nuts???  That is *so* gross!'.  Well, don't.
  Hear me out!  
Read this post and see how far cloth diapers have come from the "dish towel" your grandma used :)  It will take maybe 15 minutes of your time but the information in this post could end up saving your hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of dollars.

So here we go.

First, i think we need to dispell the thought that cloth diapers are hard to use.  This is not the case at all!  Cloth diapering can be as easy as you want to make it.  These are the popular options you have (stay with me!).

Flats are basically a simple flat piece of cloth.  You then fold them to create absorbent layers and then pin or Snappi them onto your baby, or lay them in a cover (i'll explain the snappi later!).  A positive to using these diapers is the fact that they are only one layer, this means they wash and dry easier than other kinds and are inexpensive.  But they can be more time consuming since you have to fold them up.  These need a cover.

 Most people probably think these are burp cloths, but you'd be wrong.  These are a perfectly acceptable form of cloth diapering :)  The prefold differs from the flat because it has been 'pre-folded', hence it's name.  The middle part is thicker than the sides.  So you just fold it around the baby and fasten it and go.  These also wash and dry pretty quick and they are also much more inexpensive than other diapering systems.  My sister actually uses only prefolds that she made herself.  These need a cover.


These are a step up from the prefolds.  They have the absorbent later in a middle and are cut into an hour glass shape so there is no folding required.  You just fasten it and go :)  These need a cover.


 Fitted are yet another step up from the contours.  These have an absorbent layer in the middle and snap or velcro on and have elastic in the legs (for a better fit).  So very easy to put on and use.  These need a cover.


Pockets are some of the most popular types of cloth diapers.  They have a waterproof outer layer (so NO cover is required), an inner layer that wicks away moisture and then a pocket opening (normally in the back, some have it in the front) that holds an absorbent insert.  What is nice about these diapers is you can customize how absorbent your diaper is.  If you have a heavy wetter you can add more inserts to make the diaper bore absorbent!  Also, because the insert and diaper are separate the diaper washes and dries better that other types.  These are the types of diapers i use.

All In One (AIO)
All in ones have been said to be the easiest diapers of them all.  The absorbent part of the diaper is sewn in and it has a waterproof shell so the diaper is all one piece (hence the name).  These have been said to be the best option for dads or grandparents who are hesitant about cloth diapers since they are the most like a disposable.  A down side to these diapers is the fact that they are thicker and one piece so it can be harder to get clean and take longer to dry.

All in two (AI2)
These are the same as the AIOs but the insert snaps in instead of being sewn in.  This makes washing and drying a bit easier than with just the AIO.  

Stuffable AIO

A stuffble AIO is just like it sounds.  It's has an absorbent layer sewn in but it also has a pocket so you can stuff it more if you need to.  The one above is from the Nivy Nap brand which is made by a friend of mine.


The hybrid diaper is fairly new on the scene of cloth diapers.  Hybrids are diapers that are both disposable *and* cloth.  Of the ones i have seen you have a cloth diaper cover and then you can either use a disposable insert (i know the G Diaper ones are flushable), OR a cloth insert.  If you use the disposable insert you'll still need to clean the cover when it gets dirty. 

Many people who want to try cloth but are not sure will try a hybrid first to see how they like it.  They may use a cloth insert at home, but a disposable when they are out and about.  Each hybrid comes with their own inserts but many people use inserts they already have on hand (for the cloth), like prefolds and such, cutting down on costs.

Hybrids are normally more expensive then other cloth diapers and even disposable and most can only be bought online.  *Some* local stores are starting to carry, but not many.  I found the Mabu Baby diaper at my local Walmart!  A con with the disposable insert is fit you want to flush them you must tear them open and then swish them with a stick to break them up first,
otherwise you will experience a clogged toilet.    Also, hybrid diapers use just as much water as normal cloth (if you flush the liner) since you have to flush the toilet every time you use a liner.  You also still wash the cloth inserts.   A pro to the diapers is that because you reuse the cover you and sending less trash to the landfill.

If you think a hybrid might be the diaper for you i just suggest you research the different options available and sales.

One Size
One Size diapers are diapers that adjust in size.  Normally this is done with 3 sets of snaps in the front rise of the diaper.  You snap the diaper down to create different sizes.  Sometimes it is done by folding down the rise of the diaper.  This type of diaper is very nice because you do not have to buy multiple sizes of diapers, one diaper works for most of your child's diapering years.  Another bonus is if you have 2 children in diapers you don't need a different stash for each child, the same diapers work for both children. Most of the time one size diapers do not fit newborn babies very well.  So most people have a small newborn stash until they fit into one size diapers.  One size diapers are available in many different types, like fitted, pocket and AIO. 

Covers are needed for diapering systems that are not water proof on their own (like the prefold.  They come in many different designs.  Some are made from wool, others PUL and yet other are fleece or other materials.They also fasten many different ways.  Some come in one size.

Your options for fasteners (if you are using a diaper system that needs them) are the obvious diaper pin, OR the new invention, the Snappi.  With the snappi there is no risk of poking yourself or the baby and they go on quickly and easily.  But they do cost a bit more than pins and don't last as long. 


So as you can see, some diapers are easier to use than others.  Some go on just like a disposable, and others need to be folded first.  There are pros and cons to every system.  You just need to decide which will work best for you and your needs.

Now lets go ver the "yuck factor".  Many people don't consider cloth diapers because they think they are gross and unsanitary and they do not want to deal with poop.  Well, let me let you in on a little secret:
You are gonna have to deal with poop no matter what kind of diapers you use!
Even if you use disposables many times they blow out onto your baby's clothes (and bed or floor or swing or car seat) and you will have to wash them.  There is just no way around poop :)

But with cloth diapers, most babies do not have as many blow outs!  The diapers are very good at chatching the mess!  big bonus.

But really, for me, poop is not a big issue.  If your baby is breastfed that means theat their poop is water soluable so all you do is put it in the pail, no rinsing required.  If they are on solids you just dump the poop into the toilet (by shaking the diaper) OR using a disosable diaper liner like this:

It lines the diaper so when they go poop the liner and poop go in the toilet and the diaper in the pain.  No work for you :D

There are also things called diaper sprayers that attach to your toilet so you can spray the diaper off if you would like.

As for the unsanitary part, that is just ridiculous.  Washing machines are meant to CLEAN our clothes.  You don't worry about any of your other clothes being unsanitary, you don't buy new underwear for yourself every day do you?  So how is it any different with a diaper?

Now lets cover the actual act of taking care of the diapers.
You just changed your baby's diaper.  Where does it go?  In a diaper pail of course :)  There are two options for a pail: Dry and wet.  A dry pail is just a pail you throw the diapers in.  A wet pail is a pail with water in it that you put the diapers in to soak.  This can lead to less stains on your diaper, but it can also shorten the life of your diaper because the water breaks down the fibers of the diaper faster.  It is also a hazard for little children to have a pail full of water around.  Most cloth diaper users use a dry pail (i do). 

My dry pail is just a kitchen garbage can with a lid that i got from Bed Bath and Beyond.  Nothing really fancy about it.  It has a pail liner in it that keeps the pail itself clean and when it's wash day i just pull the liner rout and turn it right side out in the washing  machine.  No need to touch the dirty diapers!

When wash day comes i take the diapers to the washer, put them in and then run a rinse cycle with some white vinegar.  Then i wash with hot water and detergent (i make my own) and then rinse on cold.  After the load is done i throw everything in the dryer and i'm done (other than folding).  It's really simple and doesn't take hardly any time!  The washing machine does all the work!

What about when you are on the go?  What do you do about the diapers then?  You put them in what is called a wet bag.
The wet bag is a water proof bag with a zipper to keep the diapers in until you get home.  Then you just dump the diapers in your pail and you can wash the wet back with your diapers :)  I have two so when one in in the wash i can use the other one.

So see, it is rather simple!  

Now lets go over some of the reasons to consider cloth diapers. 
For one, cloth diapers will save you A LOT of money!  Some people are put off of the fact that each cloth diaper can cost an average of $15, but remember that you get to use this diaper again and again and again!  And in the case of one size diapers you can use the same diaper the child's whole diapering years!  

Did you know that the average cost of disposables for 2.5 years is $2,000!!!  That is a BIG chunk of change!  You can get an entire cloth diaper system for less than $500!  Even with laundry costs (which are not much, you are maybe doing 2-3 loads a week extra) you are coming out ahead!  And you can easily get a diaper stash for less than $500!
There are some brands of cloth diapers that are very inexpensive, even $5-$7 for a one size pocket diaper!  So you could get all the diapers you need for $100-$150!  And remember, you can use them for more than one child!!  This doubles your savings!

Another things to consider is with disposables, if you have to use more diapers (like during the newborn period or when a child is sick), your cost goes up!  But with cloth diapers, the cost remains the same :)  

OK, onto reason two!
Cloth diapers are healthier for babies.
Disposable diapers have dyes, fragrances, sodium polyacrylate (the super absorbent gel, and has been linked with TSS in the past), Tributyltin (harmful to the human immune system and disrupts hormone function) and dioxin, which is a by-product of bleaching paper and a cause of cancer.  There are also links of rises in male infertility and asthma with disposable diaper use.  And then the fact that more babies have diaper rashes with disposable usage.  There is just a lot of nasty stuff that i don't want my baby sitting in for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for an average of 2.5 years!!  

Then there is the environment.  Many believe that cloth diapers are better for Mother Earth.    Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp than cloth diapers.  The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth. Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.  

Something else to think about is the fact that it is actually illegal to throw away human waste. Yet that is what everyone does when they use disposable diapers. That fecal matter in the landfills poses a threat to our water supply (it can leak down in the cracks and get into the ground water)! When you flush the solids and wash the diapers that water goes to a water treatment plant where they know how to deal with human waste.

And disposables takeover 500 years to decompose!  Even biodegradable ones since air and light are needed for decomposition and landfills do not get that.  Now think about the 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used every year in the U.S. and that we've been using disposable for about 20 years now and will continue to use them...that is a LOT of trash that is going NOWHERE!

Some argue that cloth diapers are not green because you have to wash them and that uses a lot of water and energy, BUT disposable also use water and energy to make but you use that diaper once and throw it away, with cloth you get to use them over and over again.    And many cloth diaper users dry their diapers on the line, thus saving energy and many also have HE washers, again saving energy and water :)

Ok, enough on that subject.

One of the last main reasons to consider cloth are the fact that they are so dang cute!  
I am restraining myself from posting more.  But i think i have made my point :)

So, i think that is about it.  
There is so much more information available on the subject, and if you want to know more, it is easy to find online (or you can ask me).  I hope that perhaps i have helped you to realize that cloth diapering is not a thing of the past, not yucky, not time consuming and is very possible to make a part of your daily life.  People all over are making the switch!  (i even heard that 10% of the U.S. use cloth diapers!).  Maybe you should make the switch too!

How many of you use cloth diapers or are considering it?  What made you 'make the switch'?

(just FYI, All the pictures except for the last ones came from, which, btw, is a great place to buy diaper and diaper supplies!) (and feel free to pass this post on to others!)


Amber Smith said...

Absolutely wonderful post. Lots of great information, and I'm saving the link for this post. It's going to be the one I give people when they ask about cloth. Wonderful!

Jillyn said...

@ Amber: Thanks! I hope i covered it all (at least the basics) since i had to write this in between nursing, changing diapers (wonderful cloth!), rocking, playing and just you know, taking care of my baby lol :D

But i've read lots of articles similar to this on cloth diapers and i wanted one that was from my opinion you know? One that i would feel good giving to others :D Like i said, i could have added so much more, but i think this is a good start :) We don't want to overwhelm anyone right?

And please, pass it on!

Anonymous said...

REPOSTED on my Natalie Doula and Pregnancy Support FB page! SPECTACULAR one lists the ALL of the options...just the covers w. prefolds and pockets. GREAT job!

CrazyChel said...

Fabulous break down of all the many options! There are so many chemicals our kids are exposed to now, this is a great way to limit that exposure and keep our kiddos skin happy & healthy!

Issa said...

Pasted this link to a preggers friend of mine. Thinking of getting some of my girlfriends to pool money and buy her a bunch. Awesome post as always. :D

.Maddie. said...

Nice! We switched to cloth when x2 was about a year old & am so glad we did. Less rashes, less fussiness, less expense, less all around win for us.
We've been using mainly AIOs since they're easiest for DH (who doesn't get the concept of a cover over a diaper) & have been super happy with SunBabys, Kawaiis, & my own.

Wendy said...

I switched to cloth because my daughter got terrible diaper rash while in daycare during the week. It would clear up on the weekends but always came back. Sense making the switch, she only gets diaper rash if she has had major poop issues. We use BumGenius One-size. I love them! They are easy and super cute! We also use the diaper sprayer. I try and "convert" anyone I can. Cloth is back in a BIG way!

Jillyn said...

I'm so happy to hear so many of you ladies are happy with Cloth :) Wendy, i do try to "convert" anyone i can, hence this post ;) lol.

Clayton said...

Love this! I'm definitely cloth diapering when I have kids!

Tarynne said...

Clayton = Tarynne by the way, he had signed into my computer last night! Sorry! lol