Friday, July 3, 2015

How To Start Using Cloth Diapers

Over the last few months, its become clear to me that some changes are in order for the blog. While I'm working on that - most of it is beyond my capacity as a simple writer with the black touch to technology - I will be working on some new blog posts. That being said, stay tuned for the changes!

Lately I have had 1 thing, and 1 thing only on my mind - cloth diapers. I'm obsessed with them to say the least. Every night when my son goes to bed, I get on the laptop and start looking at them online. To say this could be overwhelming is an understatement. My husband laughs at me a lot as I make new discoveries and get way too excited. There are dozens of modern cloth diaper brands and outside of that, hundreds of retailers with the diapers in store.

It takes time to research each method of diapering - this isn't just your grandmother's pins and prefolds anymore. Each method works best for someone's family, budget, and lifestyle, so I'll lay out a few of them just for fun. Keep in mind that all of this is coming from someone who has NOT yet started using cloth. I have simply done months of research in preparation for our newborn. As I'm writing this, I am 33 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby (first one in cloth). I hope you will realize that while cloth diapers may have many options, they are not scary or gross.

A Complete Guide to Cloth Diaper Options

--Prefolds and Covers: This option is the closest to old-school. A trifold cloth (think like a burp cloth) can be wrapped around your baby's booty and then pinned with safety pins OR this new awesome invention called the Snappi that seems to be easier and safer. Then, cover the prefolded cloth with a waterproof cover to protect everything. A cover is just a leak-proof, thin shell with snaps or velcro on the outside to keep it in place. Another way to do prefolds and covers is to simply fold the cloth in 3 and then lay it in the waterproof diaper cover. No pins or snappis. No wrapping.
Different sizes of prefolds from the best - Green Mountain Diapers
--Fitted and Cover: Fitted diapers are tailor made to wrap around the baby's body better than a rectangular trifold cloth. They come with either closures, or without closures and require a Snappi or pins. Then, you put a cute cover over them to trap in the wetness. ((We plan to use fitteds with closure and covers for our newborn!)) One benefit of the fitted, or of pinning the prefold around your baby instead of just laying the folded cloth in the cover, is that the gross newborn poop will be contained MUCH more efficiently. No leaks. It's actually a well-known fact that cloth diapers stop diaper blow outs and leaking much better than even the priciest disposable.
Fitted Diaper and Snappi - image from Itsy Bitsy Bums website
Fitted Diaper with Closure (snaps) - These are the exact diapers we will be using! (IBB)
--Hybrid: Similar to prefolds and covers, hybrids are best loved for their ability to keep using the same cover and simply change out the wet inner absorbency when baby pees. Some people switch between 2 covers all day long, letting 1 air out between changes. The only time you have to throw the cover in the wash is if baby poops, or at the end of the day when you put a new cover in the rotation! The difference between hybrids and prefolds is that the hybrid inserts are slimmer, flat pieces of cloth (not prefolded or trifold) that snap into the diaper cover. This can keep them extra secure and allows you to really pre-stuff your diapers for an efficient change. (Also known as All-In-2 because all of it comes in 2 pieces!)
GroVia Hybrid with absorbent insert (from GroVia website)

--All-In-One: This diaper may be the most user-friendly option. The absorbent insert is sewn into the diaper so there is no stuffing, wrapping, or pinning! All of it comes in 1 piece. Just put the diaper on baby exactly like a disposable and then when it is soiled or wet, throw the whole thing in the laundry hamper. This might be the best option to leave with babysitters, family, or new dads. (no offense to dads - it is statistically evident that most people using and loving cloth right now are women!)

All-In-One - You can see on the back of the diaper (LEFT side of this picture), it is sewn in. (GroVia)

Outside of an All-In-One diaper from GroVia (print: Adventure)
--Pockets: As the name suggests, pocket diapers have an opening in the back or front that you actually stuff the absorbent insert into. There is a thin layer of cloth above the insert holding it in place. These are very user-friendly as well because the person washing the diaper will just restuff the pocket and then leave the diaper in wait for a diaper change. Putting them on is just like a disposable! Each time the baby pees or poops, the whole thing goes in the laundry hamper, but make sure to unstuff the pocket so everything gets washed thoroughly!
Blueberry Pocket - the stuffing goes into the back of this diaper and as you can see, looks easy to put on!
--Swim Diapers: No absorbency here, but they catch poop! This is how all swim diapers are made, cloth or disposable, so don't leave baby in one unless he's in the water or you will end up with a wet lap, carseat, or floor! Yes, this means baby pee is in the pool. It always has been, regardless of whether baby uses cloth or disposable. That is why we treat pools with chlorine. Slip an elastic waist diaper over your baby and then slip it off like underwear, or get a swim diaper with snaps on the side to help you easily take it off without smearing any poop down your babe's legs.

--Training Pants: Like Pull-Ups, only cloth! They might not hold a full bladder, but can catch the beginning of an accident as your toddler makes it to the potty. Stuff a prefold or insert into the trainer to catch heavier accidents. These can also look exactly like underwear, or may have side snaps for easy-off. Unlike diapers, your kiddo knows when she is wet! Check out all the options on Itsy Bitsy Bums.

I will be writing a mini series about cloth diapers before and after my baby is born. Then I will be sharing our journey with cloth! So stay tuned. Upcoming topics will include: More Cloth Diaper Options (materials used to make diapers, types of closure, sizing), Why Use Cloth? (saving money, saving the Earth), How To Wash Cloth Diapers (dispelling some myths), Who Can Help Me With Cloth? (resources online!), Nolan's Stash (my baby boy's collection of diapers), and even Mama Cloth (cloth menstrual pads - yep you heard me.)

References - All pictures come from the following, but the written information has been drawn from all over the web as I did my own research. Some biased opinions may be present. It's my blog. I can do what I want. *wink*