“Eww, that’s gross!!” Yep, I have heard that. “How do you do it with all those kids running around?” Heard that too! “You know they make disposable diapers now right?” I’ve heard that one also! And yes, it can be gross, and yes, sometimes time consuming, and SMELLY, and yes, I do know they make disposable diapers now. But I choose to use cloth diapers. Why? Well it all begin when I read that there are chemicals in disposable diapers that are known carcinogenics and cause cancer in the uterus and other reproductive organs. And we knew we were having a girl this time around. And the thought that something I was going to put on her could cause her to have cancer later in her life, well, it was just too much for me to bear. And so begin the journey. I researched, and asked people questions. No one I knew used cloth diapers. That I knew of! Enter my sis-in-law. Who also has a great blog, that is all about cloth diapering and searching for that perfect one! http://questfortheperfectclothdiaper.blogspot.com/ As anyone who has cloth diapered can tell you, you never have the right one.. and every time you see a new one, you wonder would that work better?! Or boy that is cuter then the ones I have. Or cheaper, or looks softer.
Anyway, my journey begin with the purchase by my mom and grandma of a package of Kushies All In One, or AIO, cloth diapers. They were super cute. And looked just as easy to use as a disposable. Along came our baby, and we brought her home from the hospital, I got out the diapers, and WOW were they big! She was an 8 # baby! But those diapers were huge! So, we were very glad that the hospital sent us home with a package of Huggies newborn diapers.. those Kushies didn’t fit our super slim baby until she was well past 4 months old! By then I was starting to wonder.. should I even bother?! The ease of throwing away a stinky or wet diaper just seemed so much better for all when combined with sleepless nights, and kids wanting their third PB&J sandwich when they haven’t finished their first! Then to throw in Homeschooling, and the already mountainous pile of laundry. And boy, I suddenly did not want to use cloth diapers. But then, one day, I ran out of disposables, and did not want to bother putting 6 kids in the car to go to the store to get one thing! SO out came the cloth. Onto baby they went. And guess what?! I loved it! We used the same 5 diapers every day for a couple months, until we could afford to get more. At this time, I knew the Kushies worked and although there were several brands I thought were cute and had good reviews I was hesitant to spend that much on something that might now work for her! So we bought more Kushies.And I couldn’t believe that I was excited to get something that I would be rinsing out in the toilet, but I couldn’t wait for them to get here!
Suddenly, though, they begin to SMELL like you wouldn’t believe. And everyone had an opinion of why! I wasn’t getting them clean enough, I wasn’t rinsing them out well enough. They needed to be stripped, hung in the sun, thrown away and get new ones (Uh, have you seen the price of cloth diapers!??), the baby needed to drink water, or nurse more often,(every two hours wasn’t enough??) I needed to change her more often.. and on and on it went. Well, I stripped and stripped, and (don’t tell anyone!) used bleach!, and used vinegar, and NOTHING worked.. until, my sis-in-law, mentioned about told me to use TIDE free and clear. I still have to strip them about once a month, which if you don’t know, is a super hot wash, then rinsing several times until you no longer see bubbles in the wash water… stripping removes the buildup of soap residue that soaps leave in the diaper and cause your diapers to stink or not absorb the wetness, which is kinda important for a diaper to do! My baby no longer wakes up red on the bottom from the ammonia burn that residue causes. I rinse out the poopy diapers as they come off the baby, sometimes it’s thick and hard enough that it just falls out, I like those ones! I just toss them in the pail, no soaking. When the pail is full, I take it to the washer. I put the wash on cold and toss the diapers in. And close the lid. And go wash my hands in super hot water with lots of soap! LOL. When they are done washing, I go add about 1 1/2 TBS of Tide Free and Clear laundry soap (1 box has lasted me three months now, so the price isn’t that big of a problem for me.) and set the washer to HOT, close the lid. When that wash cycle is over, I set it to COLD once more, and wait for it to fill. If I notice soap bubbles, they get an extra rinse. If there are a lot, I turn my water heater up as far as it will go, wait a couple hours, then wash them twice in the HOT HOT water. Then rinse two or three times until there are no more soap bubbles when the washer fills. If there are no bubbles, I add half a cup of vinegar so they are nice and soft. If it’s nice and sunny out they go out on the line to dry. If it isn’t sunny, they go into the dryer. Some days, if I am in a hurry, I will dry them in the dryer most of the way, then hang them in sun to finish. They still get that clean sunshine smell, without the time. Which here, could be days!
I feel better knowing I am not throwing piles of junk into the local garbage dump. But really, it isn’t about the earth or being eco-friendly. It’s about my baby, and her health, and what’s best for her. And for her, I can handle stinky diapers, and plugging my nose and trying not to breath while I throw diapers in the washer (it doesnt work, just so you know!)
And now that we have done this for a while, and I am more confidant, I am ready to try a few new brands.
I have made my own flat folds with an old flannel sheet, (which are the cloth diapers Grandma used to use :o) and I cover them with a wool shortie cover and use a Snappi to keep it closed, which is so far one of my favorite ways to diaper her. Maybe it’s because I made them, or just that she stays dry for HOURS , and sometimes all night,instead of maybe 2 hours at most with the Kushies. Another favorite is the fitted diaper inside a cover. I have a PUL cover, but although it’s cute, it doesn’t always stay closed. I am hoping my sis-in-law who makes cloth diapers, will someday soon throw a few my way. And I am entering giveaways to win a few to try some new ones without spending the $$. I am also always looking for hand me down diapers that are clean, and still usable to try.
You can cloth diaper without spending a ton of money. I was given the wool and PUL covers, and if I had just used the sheet cut up into flat fold diapers method, I could cloth diaper for free. Or spend a few bucks getting the flannel sheets from a thrift store if I didn’t already have them. To make, you cut the material into 27-29″ squares. Look up how to fold a cloth diaper on Google and watch one of the videos that pop up. It’s really easy to do once you do it a couple of times. All this to say, anyone can cloth diaper. Anytime. And anyone can fall in love with it. And it really is not as hard as it looks!