I wrote a blog post a little while ago titled "Cloth diapering budget." That post added up the cost of cloth diapering versus disposable diapering. We've had a few expenses added to that list since then. We had not yet ordered a sprayer. We ordered a OsoCozy Cloth Diaper Sprayer from Amazon for $39.95. I also started having a hard time with baby #4 leaking through his diapers at night. He was going 4-5 hours between feedings and the hand-me-down Gerber prefolds weren't doing the trick. I bought new Gerber prefolds and had the same problem. I went back to my local baby store and explained my problem. She recommended that I buy Bummis Organic Prefold Diapers, the organic prefolds she sells in her store. She said the organic diapers are more absorbent and that many of her customers will come in and say their Gerber diapers are leaking. I was a little skeptical. How could the organic prefolds be that much better than the Gerber prefolds? I bought 5 at $2.50 a piece ($12.50 total) just to try out-- BIG DIFFERENCE! I tested the diaper out and he went 5-6 hours without leaking in the organic prefolds, without any extra lining. I went back to the baby store and bought 10 more organic prefolds ($25 for 10 + the $12.50 of the other 5 = $37.50 total for 15 organic prefold diapers).
My total cost in the "Cloth diapering budget" post was $290.54, adding in the 15 organic prefolds brings it up to $328.04, plus the diaper sprayer brings it to $367.99. (Worried that all my Gerber prefolds will go to waste? Nope-- we use these as burp cloths!)
Now that the numbers are out of the way, how have we been cloth diapering???
For the newborn stage, we have decided to use the organic prefold diapers and the Thirsties diaper covers. We have a diaper changing station all set up to make cloth diapering at home as easy as possible, plus an awesome well-stocked diaper bag which makes cloth diapering on the go so much easier.
Here is our diaper changing station:
And our diaper pail, which is just a Rubbermaid step trash can from Target, with a Planet Wise diaper pail liner:
After much consideration, we decided to use cloth wipes at home. Logistically, it just makes sense. When you are cloth diapering, you are already throwing cloth diapers into the diaper pail... Where would you throw the disposable wipes? So for now we are using cloth wipes. I had a big discussion with the gal at my local baby store and she stores her cloth wipes dry instead of mixing up the solution and storing them wet. I decided to also store ours dry. I mixed up a solution and put it in a spray bottle. Looking for a cloth wipe solution? Check out this link: "Cloth Wipe Solution Recipes" at Zany Zebra Designs. I went with the Castille soap solution but with more tea tree oil and more water since we have such a large spray bottle; we've been happy with it.
To protect baby #4's modesty (and because I doubt he would have liked participating in this photo session), our "baby" is Peter Puppy, our oldest son's favorite stuffed animal. Peter Puppy has been through a lot since he is usually quite busy playing with our five-year old.
Before I open up the diaper, I like to set out the supplies I will need. You do not need to change the Thirsties diaper cover every time you change a diaper. I like to lay out the prefold and have it folded, ready to go in the diaper cover.
I made most of our wipes by cutting up old receiving blankets. This is the size of the wipe I have currently cut. I fold it into fourths and then saturate one side with the wipe solution.
I spray the wipe before I start changing the diaper.
I then lay everything out nice so that I can start on the diaper and won't have to rummage in the diaper caddy for anything. I then pull back the Thirsties diaper cover...
...and cover the groin area with a cloth wipe. If you have ever changed a newborn boy's diaper before, you know why I do this.
The newborn diapers aren't usually very messy to clean up and I've generally only needed one wipe, sometimes folding that wipe in half if I need to.
Since the wipe usually isn't all the way wet, I use it to pick up the prefold and put it in the bin.
When I first went into my local baby store to talk to the gal about cloth diapering, she told me that for a lot of the newborn/breastfeeding "stinky" diapers she didn't even need to rinse them because they weren't that messy. I was very skeptical and didn't really believe her... but it really is true. Some of the diapers do require to be rinsed. Now that baby #4 is 2 weeks old and growing a lot, he doesn't have a stinky diaper every time we change him. Most of the diapers are wet or only a little messy. For the really messy diapers, it is usually about the time to change the Thirsties cover anyways, so I'll pull the whole thing off baby #4 and set to the side while I re-diaper...
...and since our changing station is conveniently in the large hall bathroom near the toilet, I use our nifty diaper sprayer to rinse it off.
Since I only have two hands, I couldn't quite get a picture of holding the sprayer. I just angle the diaper down into the toilet and spray it off-- no touching or scraping or whatever required. Just spray it off. I know that cloth diapering is often frowned upon by people, "Ew, I could never do that." I have to say, with this being our fourth child, I have cleaned up far worse with the other three (and they all wore disposables). Taking complete care of another human being-- even a small, newborn one-- is a very hands on experience.
I like to fold the diaper up after spraying it so it doesn't drip when I go to throw it in the pail.
When I get the diaper back over the pail, I like to let it fall in piece by piece so it doesn't go through the laundry all folded up.
After changing the diaper, stinky or wet, it is time to re-diaper. I lay the clean prefold in the Thirsties cover...
...and fold back the top so that it is most absorbent in areas that it needs to be.
Then I cover the prefold with the Thirsties cover and snap it closed.
It is really important to check the leg holes to make sure that the prefold is completely covered by the Thirsties cover. Since the prefold is what is absorbing everything, if it sticks out of the cover, you will have leakage. This is the prefold sticking out of the Thirsties cover...
...and this is what it should look like.
Now we have a happy Peter Puppy in a clean diaper! :)
Obviously cloth diapering at home with a changing station is convenient. How easy is it out of the house? When we leave the house, I use disposable wipes and diaper sacks. I keep the diaper sacks in the outside pocket of my diaper bag next to the diaper pad. I like the changing pad to be handy and the diaper sacks accessible since I use them so often.
Inside my diaper bag, I keep 4 prefolds, 1 Thirsties diaper cover, my disposable wipes, and my wet bag.
To change a diaper while out, I really like to have everything laid out and accessible. I do not want to be digging in my diaper bag while my baby is on a changing table in a public restroom, cloth diapers or not. The baby would be on my changing pad, but these are the things I need when changing a cloth diaper out of the house: wet bag, diaper sacks, disposable wipes, and a clean prefold.
I open up all the bags so I don't have to when I am changing the diaper and lay out the prefold, just like I do at home. (The prefold is under the wet bag in this picture.)
I then take off the dirty prefold and put it in the wet bag and set the wet bag aside.
I use disposable wipes while out of the house because it is the most convenient for me for now. I like having disposable wipes on me also because wet wipes are very handy when you are out with toddlers (sticky hands!). I drop the used wipes into the open diaper sack.
From there, it is pretty much the same to change a diaper while out of the house or at home.
When the diaper is changed, I throw the diaper sack with the used wipes away and zip up the wet bag with the dirty prefold inside. I fold up the wet bag as much as I can and put it on top in my diaper bag. When I get home, I empty the wet bag into my diaper pail. Since I am just changing newborn diapers, which aren't very stinky, I have not needed to wash my wet bag after each use. Eventually I think I will need two on-the-go wetbags. For now, one is working and the times I have needed to wash it, I have been able to do it in the evening after we are home for the night.
The laundry question comes up often when cloth diapering. Here are the answers to the two most frequently asked questions:
Don't you have to do a lot of laundry?
This is our first time cloth diapering any of our children, but this is our fourth child. As a family of six, we do a lot of laundry. Since we already do 1 or 2 loads a day, this really hasn't changed our laundry pattern. I make sure to do a load of whatever is in our diaper pail each day and that has worked out great-- haven't run out of diapers yet! :)
No. As I said before, taking complete care of a human being-- even a small, newborn human being-- is a hands on job. You can see from the pictures that I am not elbow deep in, um, waste while changing a cloth diaper. Honestly, what bothers me more is burping our little guy and him spitting up in my hair... yuck! :P I don't know if it is because this is our fourth child and so diapers just really don't bother me, but sometimes when I do a load of diapers from our pail, I just throw the diapers into the wash and don't pull out the wet bag liner. Sometimes, if it is exceptionally full or we've changed many stinky diapers, I pull out the whole liner and empty it directly into the washer, pulling the wet bag liner inside out before tossing it in too. Since the diapers aren't messy and I rinse the ones that are, I've had no issues with a messy washing machine. Our washing machine is, however, full of evidence from his older siblings: K'Nex, Legos, Matchbox cars...
I'll be sure to keep you all updated on our adventures in cloth diapering! So far, so good. :)