Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Cloth Diaper Routine

Over the last four years, I have been blessed to share my experience with cloth diapers to many curious friends and strangers.  Recently, I have had several friends asking very specific questions, and I feel like I have typed the contents of this post in enough emails that it deserved its own space on my blog to save myself all the work next time a friend wanted an insider's peek into cloth diapers ...

I have used bumGenius! One-Size Cloth Diapers since they were first introduced to the market in 2006, and I have never felt the need to even consider another brand.  I love them so much, and I love their creator and Cotton Babies owner, Jenn Labit.  She's just awesome, and they have fantastic customer service.  What other diaper is going to come with a one-year warranty against product defects?!

I digress, I purchased a dozen of the new 4.0's two weeks after our Emma's birth, and I really like the snaps.  They were intimidating at first, but I prefer them to my old Velcro ones.  Any new diaper is awesome at first, even the ones with Velcro, but after about six months the Velcro tabs no longer stick to the laundry tabs through the entire wash and they end up sticking to everything else and snagging the outside of the diapers.  Around a year, it seems like the Velcro strip across the front of the diaper starts pulling away from the diaper.  They are still usable, but not pretty. Now at 18-months old, the Velcro tabs have started to curl, so when I put them on Emma and she's wearing fleece, they stick to her outfit where the tab has curled up.

I am hopeful that the snaps will give the diapers more longevity without the need for repair; I am not that skilled on my sewing machine.  Since the diapers will likely last until your child is potty trained, it is nice to know you won't have to replace Velcro tabs or elastic unless you are trying to give the diapers a second wind for another, smaller child to wear.  If you start with only a dozen diapers in your rotation, it is likely that you will have to replace the entire diaper before your child is potty trained, however, because the diapers will be washed much more frequently (every other day) which will wear out the PUL outer faster.

We received three dozen diapers as shower gifts before Aubrey, our oldest child, was born, so I only had to wash every 2-3 days.  Those diapers lasted until she was potty trained at two-years-old and got me started on Caleb, our second child, as well.  I decided to only invest in a dozen when it was time to replace my stash of 1.0's with 2.0's.  The 2.0's started leaking around 18-months, since I was washing them every other day, and had to reinvest in another dozen diapers to see Caleb through potty training.  He is three, and unfortunately still not entirely potty trained.

Since we had Grace, our third child, while Caleb was still wearing his dozen diapers, we purchased another dozen diapers for her to wear.  She turned 18-months old last month, and is, for all intensive purposes, potty trained already.  She only wears diapers when we leave the house which is awesome considering the trouble we have had with her older brother.  At first, I was not going to purchase more diapers for Emma's arrival, but when Caleb, who had been potty trained for five months, digressed so quickly after Emma's arrival, I had no choice but to invest in more diapers because two dozen diapers is not enough to have three children diapered!  Since Grace has since stopped wearing diapers as often, I now have extra diapers on hand when I don't get to the laundry as quickly as I like!

Deciding how many diapers you want to invest in is almost entirely dependent on how often you want to wash diapers and your budget.  A dozen diapers is sufficient if you are okay washing diapers every single day, although it will not be enough for your newborn since you tend to change them much more frequently.  With Emma (now six-weeks old), I have 14 diapers in her basket and I wash every 1.5 days (i.e., Monday morning, Tuesday night, Thursday morning, Friday night, Sunday morning).  When she was first born, I was having to wash every morning and sometimes ran out of diapers before grabbing my diapers off the drying rack the next morning with just a dozen.  I have Caleb and Grace's old diapers, though, so I have started using them as fillers since they aren't wearing them anymore.  Emma can wear one 4.0 all night long without leaking!

These are the items I would recommend to any first-timer just getting set-up:
  1. 18 bumGenius! One-Size Cloth Diapers
  2. bumGenius! Detergent
  3. Diaper Pail
  4. 2 Diaper Pail Liners - I have only used the WHAMies and Planet Wise liners, but Kissa's Antibacterial Pail Liner is the least expensive and has great reviews.
  5. Drying rack - I line dry my diapers and pail liners to give them a longer life.
  6. 24 bumGenius! Flannel Wipes **
  7. bumGenius! Bottom Cleaner **
  8. Prince Lionheart Ultimate Wipe Warmer **
** I used disposable wipes with my cloth diapers for a long time, then finally realized I might as well use a cloth wipe that I can just toss into the diaper pail along with the dirty diaper.  You'd only need the these items if you were interested in using cloth wipes.

Note: I have only owned my Planet Wise liners for about four weeks, and I have already experienced a problem with one of them.  I called Planet Wise to report the defect, and their customer service was not very good.  They are replacing the bag, but it has take nearly two weeks of back-and-forth emails to finally get them to ship me a replacement which will not arrive until next week, almost three full weeks after I first called them regarding this issue.

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