My son just turned one year (Insert the 100th heart-sigh I have had this week... kids really do grow up way too fast), which means I have been cloth diapering for almost a year. I thought I would share my thoughts about it for any who are curious, BUT FIRST (since many of you may not be AT ALL interested in reading anything having to do with diapers) I wanted to share 3 VALUABLE THINGS that I learned from cloth diapering that will seriously benefit you too, whether you are cloth diapering or not.
3 VALUABLE TIPS:
1. Thirsty Towels- Who likes big, thick. thirsty towels? I do! CDing is all about maximum absorbency (i.e. "thirsty"), so I have learned that in order to get "thirsty" towels, use laundry detergent that has no fabric softeners added and do not use a dryer sheet. Fabric softeners actually leave a residue in your fabric that make it harder to absorb liquid, same with dryer sheets. Fine for clothes. Not so fine for towels. See this list of detergents to see if yours measures up (note: just look in the column labeled "softeners"... unless, of course, you care about all that other stuff.)
2. Dryer Sheets?- Want to save money on dryer sheets and money on energy bill? Cloth diapers are thick and do not dry quickly so I tried using wooly rounds (balls made entirely of wool) in my dryer. They absorb static, and bouncing balls in your dryer keep the laundry tossing around better, so it dries faster and stays fluffy. I now use these with all my laundry. Only problem: these wooly rounds were almost $13 a pop... so I tried tennis balls... and they work too! The wooly rounds are better at absorbing static, but not $13 a piece better in my mind. So now, I save money by rarely using dryer sheets (only when doing my bed sheets and fleece), my laundry is fluffier, and I shave a few minutes off my dry time. Want to do this too? It takes 5-7 tennis balls bouncing around in that dryer to be most effective.
3. Swim diapers- Did you know that a cloth diaper cover can double as a swim diaper? They make covers in an adjustable one-size so that it grows from 8lbs to 35lbs. One cover costs the same as one bag of swim diapers. And they come in adorable prints. You can save yourself the money from running out to buy a bag of swim diapers every time you get the notion to take your 0-4 year old swimming and just use a reusable diaper cover (note: this is a link to the company I use, but there are other good ones. If you are interested, you are looking for the key words one size and waterproof diaper cover. They also make reusable swim diapers, but they cost a little more.)
Cloth Diapering at One Year update.
Warning: This rest of this post is entirely devoted to cloth diapering and may contain graphic language or things that may seem like "TMI." Side effects from reading this may include rehashing rough memories from your diapering days or may reduce your maternal desire to have babies. This post may also be used as an effective form of birth control. Consider yourself warned.
(Haha I am cracking myself up... it's not that bad.)
I can honestly say that for the first 6 months of cloth diapering, I loved it. Truly. I am not lying.
You can look here and here if you want to see the beginning of my journey with it.
I loved the way Jed rarely got diaper rash. I loved that they were chemical free. I loved the cute covers. I can't explain why one would love cloth diapering, but I did. (Okay maybe love is a bit too strong of a word... but I definitely, and perhaps strangely, more-than-liked it.)
After the sixth month mark, my love has gone down to a I-prefer-it-to-disposables-diapers... barely.
Just being real.
I love the money savings. I haven't needed to buy ANYTHING related to diapers in over 6 months.
I HATE rinsing out poo-filled diapers. HATE.
For the first sixth months, rinsing the diaper of a breastfed-only baby isn't really necessary... and then they get to solid foods...
And then. Yeah.
And then your baby starts getting extra wormy-and-squirmy and they grow and their muscles get stronger and they start demonstrating a will of their own, and that extra 5 seconds of diaper time that never bothered you before, now adds to your daily frustrations. Child, won't you please just lay still so I can get this diaper on you? Puh-leeeease!
If all diapers were free, I would have cloth diapered for 6 months and switched to disposable. But they're not, so still I persist.
- Now that Jed is near the 1 year mark, about 2 weeks ago we turned a corner. His poo is now more solid and much easier to rinse. He doesn't go #2 as often either (like once, maybe twice a day) In fact, sometimes, it's nice and solid and just falls right into the toilet, no rinse necessary (I warned you this may contain TMI...)
- I am still seriously holding on to the hope that CDing will make potty training easier. All my fingers and all my toes way super crossed.
My sanity keepers:
- Some days I just really, very seriously need to be able to throw the poo in the trash, so I keep some free-and-natural diapers (usually 7th Generation brand) handy. They are usually cheaper than huggies/pampers but a little more than generic. They are environment and sensitive-bum friendly.
- I use a spray wand attachment for my toilet. Like seriously... seriously... if you are going to CD, get one of these. I may hate rinsing diapers, but I don't even want to think of how I'd feel if I couldn't rinse them out into the toilet. Big "ew!" for rinsing them in bathtubs or sinks. Like I tell my daughter, "Poo-poo and pee-pee go in the potty."
- I only rinse diapers once a day, I just leave the poo-poo ones the top of the diaper pail, and rinse them when my kids are in the bath, since I have to be in the bathroom to watch them anyways. Might be gross to wait till the end of the day to rinse them, but it's also gross to rinse them, so...
- I don't have room in my budget to switch to disposable diapers. This also helps. I am helping my family every time I take that wand in my hand and spray.
- Oh, and laundry... I don't fold my diapers anymore. I put them in a stack and plop 'em down on their designated shelf. It doesn't bother me to wash and dry laundry... it's the folding and putting away that gets me. I make that part really easy on myself.
In summary: Cloth diapering is great for the first 6 months. Poop is nasty and not fun to clean. Cloth diapering can save you money.
I may have just forever convinced you to not try cloth diapers, or maybe I convinced you to try them out. Or maybe you were one of the people who thought I was crazy to try them out in the first place and is now secretly happy that I have joined the diapers-are-lame club. Whatever the case, I would rather be honest than try to sell you on something I do.
Me and my prefolds are pressing forward.
Wishing you joy even in the poop that life sometimes produces!