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Nicki's Diapers
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New to Cloth? Become a Cloth Diaper expert!!

Do you think of diaper pins and plastic pants when you think of cloth diapering? There is a new generation Cloth diapers that are so far from this image, and cloth diapering is definitely something that families who want to save money should explore. You will not believe how easy it! It is budget friendly and Eco friendly!!

I am not nearly as Eco-conscious as I wish I were. However, I am the stereotypical mother that many of you may think of when thinking of cloth diapering. I'm a baby wearer, I'm a breastfeeding mama, but at the same time, I am just a mom who enjoys saving some serious bucks.

First thing First

How much money can I save?

For disposable diapers, the average cost per diaper nationwide is $0.28 per diaper. The total cost for this figure (3 ½ years, 8 diaper changes per day) would be $2,862.72.

For cloth diapering, the costs range widely and it can be difficult to give exact figures on how much these cost. Cloth diapering (including the cost of cloth wipes & laundering) can range between $200-1300 dollars. This figure ultimately depends on whether or not you choose the most expensive diapers or the less expensive. Regardless of the style that you chose, you still come out financially ahead by using the cloth versus the disposable.

Before you go shopping, know the lingo!

Researching cloth diapering can be really overwhelmed - trying to figure out what types of diapers went with what, which was the best kind, what abbreviations mean. Ahhhh It can make a girl go crazy!!!

Here is a easy to understand break down:

Prefolds:
They are a traditional cloth diaper with a thick strip down the middle. These are typically worn with a diaper cover. They are one of the least expensive options for cloth diapering & dry extremely fast! They come in three sizes- Preemie (4-10 pounds), Infant (newborn to 15 pounds) & Premium (15-30 pounds).

DSQ Prefold - Diaper Service Quality:
These are more absorbent than the store brands such as Gerber.

CPF - Chinese Prefold:
These are a very popular type of prefold on the market.

Another option for prefolds are Indian Prefolds which are softer than the CPF and are made of gauze rather than twill. They are more absorbent, but can wear out a little faster than the Chinese Prefolds.

When your child outgrows the preemie or infant size they work fantastic to double up your stuffing at nighttime.

Diaper Covers:
If you are interested in using the prefolds, you will need to purchase waterproof diaper covers too. A prefold can be folded inside of the diaper cover and the diaper cover simply covers the prefold and acts as a waterproof barrier.

My favorites are Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, Bummis Super Brite and Flip

Fitted Diapers:
Fitted diapers also are used with Diaper Covers. Instead of using a prefold, you can use a fitted diaper which has elastic gathering in the legs and has snaps or a Velcro closure to keep the diaper together. Place the diaper cover over the fitted diaper, and you are go to go! Fitted diapers are some of our favorites!

Contoured Diapers:
These diapers are very similar to the fitted, but are missing the elastic gatherings around the legs and waist. The diaper has wings that need to be fastened. These also require a diaper cover.

Pocket Diapers:
Pocket diapers are usually made with two layers of fabric sewn together to form a pocket for an absorbent insert. This type of diaper just fastens on and does not need a diaper cover over it.

Inserts:
Inserts are used for pocket diapers. They can be made of a variety of materials- micro-terrycloth, regular terry cloth, hemp, or you can just use prefolds as inserts.

"Doubler" just means using more than one insert, which you could do if you were away for an extended amount of time or at nighttime before bed, to prevent leaking.

All In One:
Abbreviated to AIO. An All In One is a cloth diaper that has a waterproof cover and an absorbent inner liner that is all in one piece...hence the name. These diapers fasten usually with a hook/loop or snap fasteners. These are awesome! We love ours, however they do take longer to dry.

One Size Diaper:
Abbreviated to OS. A one size diaper usually fits the child from the day they are born (8lbs)until they are 30-35 pounds. These diapers usually have snaps that go across the diaper (making it smaller or bigger) and they can be folded over to create smaller sizes. As the child grows, the snaps on the legs can become larger. Our Favorites!!! We love BumGenius.

Wool Soaker/ Wool Pants:
A wool soaker is a diaper cover that is made exclusively of wool. Wool has a high lanolin content, so it works well as a diaper cover. Wool is really quite amazing! You can get knit wool in many different styles: Soakers, Pants, Shorts, and even skirts! If you are going to explore this option you will need to do extra research on them. Wool need special care.

How do I wash and take care of Cloth Diapers?
All of the above diapers & covers can go in the washing machine, excluding the Wool. I put in two tablespoons of detergent. I recommend an additive free detergent or a detergent specifically for cloth diapers. This will help prevent detergent build up in you diapers that can cause stink. If the diapers have been stained I like to have a stiff bristled brush on hand. I rinse the stained diaper under hot water and give it a nice scrub, this can really help get rid of the stain or at least fade it. When you are ready to wash selected hot/cold. I like to end with a second rinse.

After the diapers were done washing, You have a few options:

You can throw all the diapers in the dryer.

You can throw just the prefolds and diaper inserts into the dryer and dried them on medium-high heat. The diaper covers and pocket diapers can be line dried- weather permitting. They will dry quickly.

Another option for staining is in the sun. The sun acts as a bleaching agent and can take any staining out of them, literally within a couple of hours!

NEVER ever use any fabric softener or fabric softener sheets when washing your diapers. The fabric softener leaves a residue that can cause your diapers to no longer absorb, and they will leak.

Always check the manufacturer's guidelines for each particular type of diaper that you buy on how to wash it and if the diaper needs several washes before being use. Read those guidelines and use your own best judgment on how you choose to launder your diapers.

Why are my diapers leaking?
Probably time to strip your diapers. If your diapers have been absorbing fine and all of a sudden the diapers stop absorbing, they may need to be stripped.

Two or three washes (without detergent) should do the job.

It is very important to not use a ton of detergent- two tablespoons or less does the trick and diapers always smell fresh and clean.

Brown spotting on my diapers- it's not poo.
What could that be from?  Diaper rash creams can leave spotting on your diapers. Make sure to only use diaper creams that say that they are "safe for cloth diapers". However if you find yourself needing to use a regular diaper cream, its easy to just lay a fleece doubler in the diaper. This keeps the cream from touching the diaper, and then I didn't have to invest any money into special creams.

What about cloth diapering a newborn?
I didn't find cloth diapering a newborn to be as difficult as everyone claimed it would be. And I did it with Twins!!! We did have a box of preemie/newborn disposable diapers, until the babies fit the cloth diapers. Once the twins were finally enough to fit in the cloth diapers, we never looked back.

The laundry was not as much of an issue as every said and thought it would be either. When you have a newborn twins, you are already throwing in load after load. One more load didn't seem bad because of how often we were already doing the laundry.

I'm done with diapers, Now what?
If you are planning on having more children, I would suggest keeping them for the next child. When the next child comes, you will have no diapers to buy! If this is your last child though, selling the diapers can be a great way to make back some of the money you spent on them.

Favorite Brands?
Some of my favorites are Prefolds with Wool covers - bumGenius 3.0 - Bummis Covers - Bummis Bamboozle - Flip - Monkey Doodlez AIO.

A great little tip: buy 1or 2 diapers each of the brands/styles you are interested in. That way you can explore a bunch of different diapers, find out what works the best for you and your baby, and not break the bank. You'll know exactly what you want and will be able to create the stash you want with diaper you know you like!

Now, go forth and Cloth Diaper with confedence!!

By Guest Blogger: Britni - Mama to 3, cloth diapering Twins!!

2 comments:

MommieV said...

Great post! Prefolds come in more than three sizes, tho. The sizes you mention are the most common, but different retailers, specifically places like Green Mountain Diapers, but also Little Lions, sell a number of different sizes (lengths and widths). That's one of the great things about prefolds, you can find sizes that work no matter what size your baby is or what size covers you're in.

Heather B said...

WOW! This was very informative. Thanks!

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