September 27, 2012

Cloth Diapering

Today, Tania from In the Dove Cote has agreed to guest post about her experience with cloth diapering.

I took a little walk memory lane when she told me what her topic would be.  Twenty years ago, now.  I cloth diapered Kaitlin because she was allergic to disposable diapers.  Now back then we didn't have all the fancy doo dads to make cloth diapering so simple.  We didn't even have the quilted type that were available with my younger girls.

But I didn't mind cloth diapering in the least.  I kept a covered pail of soaking water in the nursery and just tossed them in.  when it got full I dumped the whole pail in the washer with some detergent.  We didn't have a washer or dryer so I hung them out on the clothes line.  I loved the sight of a clothes line filled with the nice white diapers on wash day.  Because of the type of fabric, the diapers did wrinkled very easily and that made them hard to fold.  I made a habit of ironing them and pre folding my own by laying two of the large diapers together and then folding them in thirds.

The only catch that made cloth diapering inconvenient were the diaper covers.  They were made of plastic which held moisture to the skin.  Kaitlin would get diaper rash very easily and it was often difficult to get rid of.  (A dear older lady introduced me to comfry just about the time we potty trained.  But it was very helpful for treating diaper rash.)  Another draw back to the diaper covers was that Kaitlin was always very small.  She weighed just five pounds at birth.  The legs didn't fit snug so they would leak quite often.

After 20 years of parenting and 17 years with disposable diapers, Allen is pretty set on not cloth diapering.  But, as you will read from Tania's experience, cloth diapering is such an inexpensive and easy option these days, I just might give it a try should the Lord decide to bless us again.  If for no other reason, make note of how adorable her diapers came out!

And with that, I put you in the capable hands of Tania.

 I have always been interested in cloth diapering, so when we found out we were expecting our first little one, I was very excited to begin learning all I could about cloth diapering!  I found that it really is much different from what most people expect- today there is a wide array of styles, sizes, brands and kinds of diapers available.  I talked with various people and found that the ones who cloth diapered loved it, while most who had never attempted it were quite discouraging and thought it would be too dirty, difficult, expensive etc.

After more research, discussion with my husband, and prayer, we decided to give cloth diapering a go, and we are so glad we did!  Cloth diapers are very economical, much healthier for baby, and it's nice knowing that our children's dirty diapers won't be sitting in a landfill for many years to come.  I have calculated that by cloth diapering one child until the age of 2 1/2, we will save approximately $2 600.  Multiply that by several children and that is a lot of money! 

For Arabella we purchased one size Comfy Rumps,  which are pocket diapers, meaning they have an outer shell made of waterproof PUL and lined with fleece, and a separate micro fleece liner that goes inside.  They are very quick and simple to use, and rarely leak.  I find most people are nervous about cloth, as they think it will be a lot of work, but it really isn't.  I wash about twice a week, and hang the diapers outside or in the basement to dry.  Rarely I will put them in the dryer, as hanging them to dry helps them last longer.  I was using our homemade detergent, and although it works well for our regular laundry, I found it wasn't getting them quite clean enough, so we've switched to Tide Free and that works fantastic.  I'd say I spend about 20 minutes a week caring for our diapers.
We are expecting our second baby in December, and have decided to use cloth diapers right from when his cord falls off.  One size diapers work great from about 6 weeks on, but with Arabella we found that they were a little loose around her legs (and she was 9 lb at birth!) so I am in the process of making from newborn diapers.  I am making prefolds with PUL covers- I found a pattern for the covers from Cloth Revolution but the directions were confusing to me, so I followed the guidelines here.  It was actually much easier than I thought to make the diapers, and rather fun- I am thinking of making a few in a larger size too.  I have done 6 covers which will hopefully be enough.
The prefold, which goes inside the cover, was from here very simple, although they seem a bit large for a new born, so I am going to make the rest a little smaller.

Total cost is about $60- I bought everything on sale but fabric is expensive in our corner of Canada.  The savings aren't too great for just one baby, but I will use them for our third and so on, so after that it will really add up.
I am also thinking of knitting some wool covers, which are very absorbent and gentle on babies skin, such as these.
This site has some really great info on the hazards of disposables diapers, for example all of the chemicals and solvents found in disposables, and how disposables may contribute to later infertility in baby boys.

Cloth diapered babies otfen potty train earlier- we have been taking Arabella to the potty since she was about 7 months old, and now at almost one year she uses it many times a day, and stays dry about half of the time.
Cloth diapering may not be for everyone, but if you are considering it, don't be afraid to give it a try!  You just might be suprised at how much you and your family enjoy it.

Be sure to stop by In the Dove Cote where Tania blogs about sewing, crafting, crochet, and all things home making and the adventures of raising her first baby, Arabella. 

1 comment :

  1. Carrie and I would have loved to keep our kids in cloth diapers, and perhaps if it were just the one or the other, we would have found a way to make it work. But with the twins at their early age, we found that we were going through all of our inserts (over a dozen) in a day, prompting near-nightly washing cycles that would take 3+ hours. *whew*!! I'm glad that there are people who can manage it, but in the end, we had to balance our desire to save money and landfill space against our time and sanity as the parents of twins.