Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cloth Diapering

Despite being an Organomama, I never really considered cloth diapering for Dylan. I am not sure why. I think I was overwhelmed by figuring out how it worked, or scared to touch poo or something. Because I never touch poo on Dylan’s disposables…right?! Well I finally got the full lowdown from two of my beautiful friends, Joanna and Brandy, and I have to say I am sold! We spent a fabulous morning together, watching our babies roll around in a pile, and talking all about the (strangely fascinating) world of cloth diapering!

I think I’ll just let them do the talking. But first, a brief introduction: Joanna and Stella (5 months), and Brandy and Raleigh (7 months)!


Here goes. I warn you, it’s a LOT of info. I couldn’t bear to cut down all the great deets they provided. I figure if you’ve decided to read on, you care about this crap. (literally)  

What led you to cloth diapering?

Brandy: We were blessed with a sweet, alabaster-ed skin little prince who is super sensitive and allergic to all modern day advancements like diaper cream, baby wash and most unfortunately (fortunately) disposable diapers. After weeks upon weeks of horrendous diaper rash, baking soda baths, endless new diaper creams and trying every disposable available, we were thrown into cloth diapering. I was so overwhelmed with my preconceived notions on how horrible it would be, I almost had a panic attack. Cue the drama squad.

Joanna: Let's see…I became interested in cloth diapering initially out of curiosity. I was cloth diapered, and remember my little bro chillin in his big rubber pants. I figured things had evolved, and it might be a bit cheaper than disposables.  I did some googling and found Ivy's Diaper Service here in Charlotte and went to informational session to see what it was all about. Of course I learned at the info sesh that it is of course way better for the enviro, and it's good for the baby bums: less diaper rash, can lead to earlier potty training, and cost effective. Plus,  all I had to do was put the dirty diapers (no rinsing involved) into a bag, and on my delivery day sit it on my front porch in the morning. That evening, fresh diapers would be waiting for me! Score :)

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So both of you B’s use a diaper service? Sweet! How does that work?

Joanna: Since I am using the diaper service with cotton pre-fold diapers, to get started I needed to purchase a diaper pail (waterproof liner is delivered with the clean diapers), waterproof diaper covers, Snappi's, some cloth diaper approved diaper cream, and that's it!  I signed up with Ivy's probably when I was around 20 weeks preggo. They ask for your EDD, they will deliver all the goods approximately two weeks before your due date. Whenever you have the baby, you just give them a call when you are ready for your first pick-up.  I bought all my diaper covers and supplies initially through the diaper service and they delivered everything right to my door.  So easy!

Brandy: We called Ivy's Diaper Service, and Jessika came out the very next night to give us a crash course. All you need are prefold diapers: a big, flat, cotton rectangle that will sit snugly on against your baby's bum and catch all the goodies that come from beneath!  Instead of using old school diaper pins, one super engineer of a dad invented the Snappi. Think 3 Ace Bandage clips, connected in a T- shape by a rubber band. Modern marvel. We chose to use Thirstie's brand diaper covers. They are mid-line in terms of price, but rate the highest with cloth diapering moms in terms of use. They come in applix/hook-and-loop (think Velco), or snaps. I prefer the applix. We use a giant wetbag at the house and have a couple small, travel-size wetbags for when we are out.

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After a few months with Ivy's, we took the leap into washing our own diapers. I had a full-on granola moment and almost decided to grow out my underarm hair. How liberating! Now we wash our own; wash twice, once on cold, once on hot, using free and clear detergent with oxy boost and 1 cup of vinegar, then dry on high for optimum softness. We have been flipping the poo and dunking the diapers in the toilet to wash off the excess. Meanwhile, we have a diaper sprayer on order because that shit is gross. Literally.


I’m super uncoordinated. Is changing a cloth diaper hard?

Joanna: Changing a cloth diaper is essentially the same as changing a disposable.  You lay the cotton prefold down under the baby's bum, then kind of angle/fold it up between their legs and apply the Snappi to keep both sides and the middle secure. Then the diaper cover goes over top.  *Key element: make sure no cloth is showing out from the diaper cover, or you could have a leaky situation.

My babe is a heavy nighttime wetter and we were having some leaks…so you can either double up on the prefolds (which leads to a bulky diaper), or we now get 5 hemp doublers with our delivery each week. The hemp is super absorbent, so we line her nighttime diaper with  that and no more leaks!  Diaper creams: only certain kinds of diaper creams are allowed with cloth diapering, as some ingredients can affect the absorbency of the cloth, and others will stain.  Bonus: the allowed creams are much more natural anyway!


Ooh! Hemp? Sounds uber-Organo. So, how do you feel it’s going so far?

Joanna: I LOVE cloth diapering!  I don't feel like it is any more work, and I actually prefer our cloth. We sometimes use disposables when we are out of town for a long period of time, and always have leaky/blowout issues with disposables. Plus – it’s so much trash!

Brandy: I love cloth diapering! I've turned into that mom that everyone avoids; "Oh Lord, here she comes. She's probably going to try to rub some of that hippie flavor off on us." I honestly think it's the same amount of work, or potentially even less work, than using disposables. Yes, I have to take the time to dunk my poo diapers and wash them twice. But in the same breath, I'm also not spending time scouring the internet for the best weekly diaper deals. I also love to fall asleep at night dreaming of all the Benjamins I'm saving by using cloth.


Speaking of Benjamins, how does it compare financially?

Brandy: If you decide to wash your own diapers, the savings is down right incredible. Raleigh's entire diapering expense has been around $300. That includes everything. When we have our next kid, their entire diapering expense will be $0 since we already have all of the supplies. How could you go wrong? Huge win. You know what else saves you  money? The fact that a baby in a cloth diaper is about the cutest thing ever. Forget the clothes; the diaper covers are cuter than anything else in your kid's closet. Trust me.

Joanna: Using the diaper service is obviously more expensive than if I would wash my own diapers. However, if we potty train earlier as a result, then we will save money in the long run.  Also the waterproof covers are reusable for future babies!


This all sounds too good to be true. There’s got to be a catch. Is it, um…gross?!

Brandy:  I was so worried about the gross factor when we were forced to switch to cloth. Man, am I a dramatic fool. There is nothing delightful about trying to wipe the smeared on, caked on, atomic smelling poo off your baby's bottom, no matter what diaper form you use. All diapers are gross. But all those chemicals used in disposables will NOT be on your baby's butt. WIN. Also, using the diaper sprayer significantly cuts down on the gross factor. If you're slick enough, you never have to actually touch the soiled area of the diaper anyway. And if you use a service like Ivy's, you let them handle all the grossness and go on with your bad self.

Joanna: I'd venture to say it is more gross having a disposable blowout than cloth diapering...

Are your caretakers/husbands on board?

Brandy: I had a tough time getting my family to buy in. I'm still not sure they are 100% with it, even after 4 months. They don't complain as much, but I still get called a hippie, and my husband and I are the only ones who will change Raleigh's diaper. But who cares. Happy butt, happy mommy. Our dear friend who takes care of Raleigh during the day has been an absolute blessing about the cloth. She will do whatever is necessary to keep Raleigh's booty happy. We take her fresh diapers a couple of times a week and leave her with a clean wetbag every morning. It's wonderful!

Joanna: Absolutely!  Both the hubs and I prefer the cloth diapers!  Daycare provider has no qualms, and even the grandparents are in on the fun :) Mainly because we don't give them an alternative.  Everyone has been very supportive!


We wrapped up our fun little morning…and guess who chimed in from the peanut gallery? Shawn! He wants to cloth diaper Dylan now. I’ll let you know if we take the leap. I can’t ignore research that tells us how much diapers clog our landfills, not to mention the disgusto chemicals in regular diapers. We like our Honest Company diaper bundle…but I’m intrigued enough to make the switch. Are you?

1 comment:

  1. Lauren... I am the owner of Ivy's Diaper Service and stumbled across this post quite by accident. Give me a call, I'll help you convert. Thanks for writing this post with Brandy and Joanna. This was quite a treat for me to stumble across! Made my night :)