Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Little Green Tushies and the Mythical World of Cloth Diapering

I swore I'd never do it. I promised to all humanity that I'd velcro my kids in disposable diapers from the day they were born to the day they were potty trained. I committed,without hesitation that I would "NEVER cloth diaper". Yuck.

After 5 months of dumping blue, horrific looking piles of decomposing baby excretions in the trash, disposable diapers made from who-knows-what and costings us upward of $15-20 a week, I got sick of all the waste I was creating, retired my diaper genie of it's duties and started on my research. 

There are dozens, if not hundreds of options when it comes to cloth diapering. Times have changed a tad from yesteryear; cloth diapering is no longer limited to folding, pinning, and plastic covers (although, it's still available!) The list is endless: there are all-in-ones, one size, pocket diapers, and snap-in's, training diapers, sleeping diapers, swimming diapers and more. Overwhelmed and totally perplexed by this infinite world of cloth diapering, I signed up to learn everything you can learn about it: Cloth Diapering: 101, at our local Natural Children's store - Podlings.

I realized after my jam-packed information session along with the research I did on my own, that much of what was holding me back from cloth diapering were a few silly myths. Let me first do some myth debunking:

Cloth Diaper Myth #1 - "Cloth Diapers are TOO much work!"

The verdict: There's definitely a certain draw to the ease of disposables - seeing as all it takes is putting out the trash to eliminate the stink, but there really isn't all that much to cloth. Pocket Diapers are almost as simple as All-in-one's, which require no dis-assembly. For my pocket diapers I simply remove the soiled soaker and put both pieces in the wet bag. Every 2 days I fill the washer with cold water, flip the wetbag inside out and dump the diapers in, do a quick cold rinse, then fill the washer with hot water, 2 scoops of detergent and a teaspoon of NaturalClean Oxy Stain Remover. I hang my diapers to dry, and dry the soakers in the dryer for 30 minutes on high.
Soakers easily insert in the diaper when dry, and they're all ready to use again!

Cloth Diaper Myth #2 - "Cloth Diapers Smell"

The verdict: They don't. Not once have I smelled  any foul odor coming from my son's behind - no more than I would from a disposable diaper, I'd even venture to say they smell considerably less. In addition, you get to enjoy the natural of your baby without the overpowering odor of perfumes! I personally think the smell of disposable diapers mixed with poop creates a much greater stink! Amazingly, the smell of soiled cloth does not permeate the bathroom, unless the diapers are left too long (no more than 2-3 days). If your diapers start getting a little funk, soak them for an hour in a mixture of hot water and Rockin Green Detergent and they're good as new!

Cloth Diaper Myth #3 - "Cloth Diapers Cause Diaper Rash".

The verdict: My disposable's caused the worst rashes and bleeding (!) my son's bum has ever seen. Most of the cloth diapers are made with a fiber that wicks moisture away from the skin. Cloth diapers (like disposables) should be changed often, every 2-3 hours.

Cloth Diaper Myth #4 - "Cloth Diapers are Too Expensive"

The Verdict: The average household will save $400-600 dollars per child, per year by switching to cloth diapers. Cloth diapering is a bit costly at first, but consider buying diapers one at a time, or putting aside money throughout pregnancy to be able to afford them as a lot.

Below are a few suggestions I have found helpful for starting out with Cloth Diapers:

1. Put aside money - the cost of one or two diapers, every month while you're pregnant. Even if you find an affordable cloth diaper, you need a minimum of 16-20 to full-time cloth diaper, it's a lot of cash to put out all at once!

2.  Do your research, try a mix of diapers - Some cloth diapering stores offer trials of a variety of cloth diapers. They charge a fee as well as a deposit, and this allows you to sample different styles of diapers, getting a feel for the ease of use and care for each diaper and find one that suits you and your baby best, without having to purchase multiple diapers.

3. Don't necessarily limit yourself - I generally stick to one diaper, but different diapers serve different purposes. Rumparooz, are a great nighttime diaper with a double layered large soaker, but are quite bulky for daytime use, whereas AMP diapers and AppleCheeks offer a more fitted, trimmer option.

4. Prepare yourself for a bit of a mess - as much as I'm an advocate for cloth, and was incredibly surprised at how easy they are to use and launder, you can't avoid the fact that they're a bit messier than disposables! There a few gadgets that will make cloth diapering easier:

Bummi's Bio-Soft Flushable Liners are helpful once your child is on solids. However, for those messy newborn poops......consider purchasing a Diaper Sprayer, a device that can be easily attached to your toilet, shower head or faucet.
- Get a Wet Bag. My wetbag is stored behind my bathroom door. I flush my liner, remove the soiled soaker from the diaper and toss both pieces in the bag, leaving it for no longer than 3 days before a wash. Both wet bag and diapers get thrown in the wash together. Most wet bags have an elastic top, making it easy to fold around a laundry basket (with a lid!) I use disposable for trips and long outings, but I carry a zippered wet-bag in my diaper bag for easy cloth-diapering on-the-go.

- Don't sacrifice on soap! Most commercial soaps cause build up on cloth diapers, causing them to be less absorbent and therefore ineffective! My favorite brand of diaper-laundry soap is Rockin Green, they have loads (pun intended) of different scents, it's great for the environment, and even better for your diapers!

After trying a number of diapers, my first one being the cutest little velcro closure, snap-in liner cloth diaper - a bright green,GroBaby,as well as the AIO Bum Genius, Rumparooz, AMP diapers, and FuzziBunz, I decided on the Made-In-Canada, Vancouver based diaper manufacturer, ComfyRumps. I fell in love not only with the money-saving, environmentally friendly cloth-diaper concept, but also how cute my kids butt looked in a little squishy green diaper!

ComfyRumps has a large color selection of one-size pocket diapers at an affordable $8.75+ shipping for both the diaper and cloth insert.  This is a steal of a deal compared to other cloth diapers, which generally run at $20-30 dollars a pop.They usually have a promotion on allowing you to receive free diapers with a minimum purchase.

Some of you are not convinced, but let me challenge you with this: check out your local Cloth Diapering Store, or order online from, and sample a single cloth diaper. Try it out, get comfortable with it, and see if just maybe, cloth diapering is for you too!

Sagacious Mama

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