Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cloth Diapering Through the First Year

I'm proud to say that over 1 year later, we're still going strong on the CD front. This is one thing that Rob and I have agreed is one of the best decisions we ever made. I'm not going to lie. It's had it's rough spots. But overall, it's been great.

For those who are unfamiliar with cloth diapers, I have a little breakdown post here. I figured now that I have a year's worth of experience with CDs, I could write a post about the things I've learned and maybe give prospective CDing mamas a success story.

{Evelyn in a BumGenius Freetime in Lovelace @ 6 months}

For those who are thinking about it, CDs are extremely overwhelming. However, there are some really great programs out there that allow you to try it out before you really commit to it. I know families who have tried and decided it didn't really work for them - which is totally okay! One that I know of from when I was researching is Jillian's Drawers which allows you to try it for 21 days for $10. You get to try all different brands and types and see if it works for you. For me though, it was something I was pretty committed to. I knew I wanted to make it work and so we just bit the bullet and went full steam ahead.

The Beginning

We didn't start CDs until Evelyn was about 2 weeks old. I hadn't planned on rushing into it. I wanted to wait until her cord fell off and we got a little settled. Well, apparently she has the most sensitive little bum ever because by 2 weeks we were already battling a diaper rash consistently. My first thought was to just go ahead with the cloth and see if that would correct the problem. Maybe she was having a reaction to the disposable. Alas, the solution wasn't that simple. Like I said, she's just super sensitive. But that was our jumping off point and there was no turning back.

We started with prefolds I borrowed from a friend and covers. Prefolds are your the CDs your mom and grandma think of. I was a little worried about them, but once we got started, it was great! Even Rob could fold one and put it on her and said on multiple occasions that it wasn't hard and he really liked them.

{Image courtesy of Green Mountain Diapers}

Evelyn was exclusively breastfed, so poop wasn't an issue. I know it freaks a lot of people out, but yes, I just threw the whole shebang into the wash. No rinsing or anything. Breastfed baby poop is water soluble and just washes away. It was great! Really, no different than disposables except I had to do a load of laundry every couple of days. Big deal. And, I really grew to enjoy hanging them outside in the summer sun and watching them bleach back to brand-new white.

Eventually, when she was big enough (maybe 1 month?) we switched over to our Flip stash. This was our way of life for the next six months. Wear, wash, repeat. We had no stink issues and minimal rash issues. If you are wondering, our wash routine at that time was:

  • Cold rinse
  • Hot wash with 1/4 scoop of Nellie's (our whitest whites cycle includes an extra rinse)
  • Dry in the sun or dryer

Introducing Solids

After the six month mark (when we introduced solid food), not surprisingly, things started to change. We were still using our Flips. I had splurged on a few more covers to add color variety. We added hemp to the lineup to handle nighttime wetness. But, then the stink started to creep in. And so began the wash-day lottery. Would my combo of washes/rinses/detergents be a winner? I'll be honest, I got pretty frustrated. I wasn't giving up. I just couldn't wrap my head around spending the money on disposables. Not to mention, I can't stand the way a pee-soaked disposable smells (is it just me?). We tried lots of things. Of course, I stripped them. I made my rinse cycle longer. I added more detergent. I ran two wash cycles. I added a third rinse cycle at the end. I stripped again. I bought some Funk Rock. I stripped again. I bought different detergent. I. Tried. Everything.

Finally, I reached some conclusions.
  1. Synthetic fibers (microfiber) are difficult. They tend to hold onto things for dear life. When that happens you get stink. Best way to get them to let go? A good wash
  2. We have hard water. Not very friendly when it comes to rinsing all the leftover soap out.
  3. I have a front loading washing machine. This is apparently an issue for a lot of people. Front loaders are meant to wash clothes with as little water as possible. Unfortunately, when washing CDs water is important. There are a couple of tricks. One is the wet towel trick. Soak a beach towel in water. I mean soak it. Put it in with your diapers. This tricks the washer into thinking there is more there to wash and so it adds more water. I've also had good luck with throwing a soak cycle in here and there. This soaks the diapers and adds weight as well.
  4. Not all detergents are created equal. I had really great luck with Nellie's in the beginning. Such great luck that I bought a giant bucket of it and I was all of our clothes in it. But, it just wasn't the right detergent for the changes that happened. I bought a container of the BumGenius detergent and that has helped.
Currently, my (mostly) working wash cycle looks like this:
  • Whitest whites (this includes an extra rinse) cycle on cold with a quarter scoop of BumGenius
  • Soak on warm
  • Whitest whites cycle on hot with a quarter to half scoop of Nellie's
  • Open door and sniff. If it doesn't smell clean run another cycle
I still run a cycle with bleach occasionally (this is actually recommended by the manufacturer) and occasionally add some Funk Rock to the soak cycle as well as the occasional strip. But we've been good for a while.

And if you are debating on the sprayer. Well, this is totally a personal decision. We love ours. Evelyn's poop never really went solid. It's almost always like peanut butter. And, honestly, I just like being able to spray it off. Piece of cake. 

As I said in the beginning, we've had our rough spots. But I still love it. There is nothing quite cuter than her little fluffy butt!

{Evelyn in a BumGenius All-In-One @ 9 Months}