Posted by Aimee
on Feb 5th, 2013 in Featured
| 0 comments
In Lesson 1, we talked about prefolds and covers, and in Lesson 2, we talked about pocket diapers. Prefolds are one of the cheapest and most basic diaper choices. Pockets are the next step up in cost and convenience.
The next option is all-in-ones. All-in-ones are the type of diapers that are most like disposable diapers. The diaper is sewn in one piece, rather than having two separate pieces like prefolds and covers or pockets that you have to stuff.
Unlike prefolds and covers, you can’t reuse AIOs for multiple messes. You put the whole diaper on the kid, and when it’s wet or dirty, you take the whole thing off and put it in the diaper pail. A lot of people, myself included, like to leave AIOs for dads and other caregivers because they are so easy to use. Also, you don’t have to worry about people forgetting to unstuff a pocket when they throw the diaper in the pail.
In spite of the ease of use, there are two drawbacks to AIOs. One is the cost. Because they are thick, plush diapers, they are the most expensive type. The second is drying-time. Whether you line dry or machine dry, there is no getting around that AIOs take a long time to dry. If you line dry, you’ll want to put them in a warm place directly in the sun to speed drying time (the sun will also bleach any stains on the fabric). If you machine dry, you’ll need to dry them on low so you don’t damage the PUL. For me, that usually means two cycles, so you’ll be using lots of time and energy.
I have several AIOs that I’ve bought as splurges, but the bulk of my stash is made up of pockets. For me, pockets are the best choice. You can often find sales and deals on them, you can stuff them with whatever material works best for you and your little one, and the shells dry very quickly.
I like the convenience of the AIOs that I own, but they cost way too much for me to build a stash out of them.
A lot of times, I forget about the little things that go along with using cloth diapers. Since I’ve been using them for over two years, reaching for wipes or coconut oil is old hat, but since I’m hoping this series of articles will intrigue new people who may be on the fence, let’s take a moment to discuss some of these.
- Snappy: I mentioned these in the prefolds/covers post. They are great for keeping cotton prefolds closed around your baby’s bottom. This is especially important in those early days when their poop is very liquidy and is likely to run out of any gaps along the legs of the diapers. I know cloth diapering moms who never used them, but I loved them until my son became mobile and stopped being agreeable during changes.
- Wipes: The big question here is cloth or disposable? When I first started thinking about using cloth diapers the idea of cloth wipes seemed really gross to me. I honestly don’t know why a cloth wipe would be any grosser than a cloth diaper, and after a while of having to separate baby wipes from my cloth diapers before tossing the diaper in the pail, I began to see the merit in cloth wipes. If you already have to rinse icky diapers, what’s the big deal about rinsing a wipe or two? And if you use cloth wipes, you don’t need to have a separate garbage near your changing area for used wipes. (That being said, I always have baby wipes on hand because they have a million uses. I do occasionally use them for diaper changes, but I usually just use my cloth wipes.)
- Liners: To line or not to line, that is the question. When your baby starts eating solid food, you might want to invest in some flushable liners. That early mix of breast-milk and solids creates a sticky mess on their bottoms. The flushable liners won’t catch all of it, but they will catch a fair amount, making clean up much easier. The other type of liner is a fleece liner that goes on top of cotton prefolds. Prefolds don’t wick moisture away from the skin, so little one will feel all that wetness. If you are a mother to a toddler (like me) and you are thinking about potty training (like me), that can be an advantage. But if you want to keep that moisture off of baby’s skin, you can make or buy fleece liners, which will have a stay dry feeling without effecting the absorbency of the diapers.
- Diaper Pail and Pail Liners: You don’t need any kind of fancy pail for your cloth diapers. I use a cheap pail that I got at Target. You can go covered or uncovered for your pail. You’ll find that an uncovered pail doesn’t really smell unless you get up close and personal with it. Most of the really yucky stuff gets flushed down the toilet, and you’ll be washing frequently enough that the diapers don’t really sit around long enough to smell bad. I have several pail liners that I rotate. These are really just big bags that are lined with PUL to keep liquid in. I throw mine in with the diapers when I do laundry and then put a fresh liner in the pail. I’ve heard some people say they don’t wash the pail liner every time, but mine starts to smell a little if it goes unwashed, and since I have three or four, it’s not a big deal to wash it every time.
- Wet bags: These are separate from pail liners. These are your on-the-go diaper pails. They come in a variety of sizes and patterns, and some are better quality than others. Like so many things in life, you get what you pay for and I’ve noticed that the ones I have from bigger companies, like Planet Wise and Rumparooz, are more effective than some of the cheap ones I’ve picked up. In a pinch, a plastic bag will work (I’ve forgotten wet bags more times than I can count), but it’s nice to have something specifically dedicated to carting wet/dirty diapers around.
- Cloth Diaper safe creams: Personally, I prefer to use coconut oil over some of the thicker creams. It does a really nice job of taking away redness and mild skin irritation. If we have anything more serious than that, I switch over to disposables for a day or two and use a heavy, “traditional” cream until his rash clears up.
- Laundry detergent: I have tried the cloth diaper safe detergents, and I honestly felt like my diapers weren’t getting clean enough, and it’s expensive. I use regular powdered Tide on all of my laundry, and I’ve had no problems with my diapers. If you are concerned, read the labels on your diapers, using the wrong detergent might void the warranty. You can also look into making your own soap, which can be more cost effective than buying expensive, all-natural soaps.
- Sprayer: Some moms swear by these; some never use them. I have one, but I’ve never used it because our plumbing is wrong. (Be aware that you need to have a flexible tube leading from your water supply to your toilet to hook up a BumGenius sprayer). Personally, I don disposable latex gloves, rinse the diapers in the toilet, throw the gloves away and put the diaper in the pail. I’ve tried all sorts of other systems, and this has been the easiest and simplest for me.
That covers all-in-ones and common diaper accessories. Are you on information overload yet? I was when I first started researching cloth diapers. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!
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