Sunday, March 14, 2010

time for fairweather cloth diapering!

I will admit it. I'm a fairweather cloth diaperer. For me to put forth the effort, I need to have a few things in place. First, I need to have diapers that I like. For me, that means easy, all-in-ones or all-in-twos. [To date, the only diapers I've used have been Bum Genius (AIO in small and medium) and BG 3.0 one size. I've recently expanded my stash to include Gro Baby diapers and the Bum Genius Flip system. They're prepping in the washer right now.]

The following descriptions were found on the company press releases or websites:

What is the Gro Baby Diapering System?
Gro Baby is a modern, one-size diapering system. Its unique, waterproof shell and organic cotton soaker pad minimizes waste and cost. When the soaker pad is wet, simply replace with a fresh, dry one.

How does Gro Baby work?
Gro Baby is designed so that the outer shells may be used for multiple diaper changes. If the soaker pad is wet, simply snap in a fresh one and you are ready to go. If the shell is wet, allow it to air dry and use for the next diaper change. When your Gro Baby Shell is soiled or very saturated, start fresh with a new Gro Baby Shell. Most Gro Baby System users will find that using 2-4 Gro Baby Shells are enough per day, although newborn babies may need more.

Another thing that I need to make cloth work for me is literally FAIR WEATHER. I like hanging my diapers on a clothesline, and now that the snow has finally melted, I can actually walk through my yard to reach the clothesline.
The final element that I need for me to do cloth diapering is a good attitude. I need to commit to doing diaper laundry every 2-3 days. (The biggest surprise I've had with using cloth diapers is that the actual cloth diapering isn't the biggest hassle. It's laundering the diapers. And not because they're messy, but because it needs to happen so frequently!)
I think I have everything in place to give cloth diapering another run. I bought some new products that I'm eager to try out. I'll report back in a week or so to tell you how it's going.

Friday, March 12, 2010

cloth diapering

[The following is a blog entry I wrote for my friend's environmental-themed blog last fall. I thought I'd repost it here. I needed something serious to balance my ridiculous post about nail polish! I've gotten away from cloth diapering over the winter but I'm jumping back into it this week.]

I am by no means an expert on cloth diapering, but I can share with you what I use and what I do.

When I decided to try cloth diapering, I sought out all kinds of advice online (and from my ONE friend who uses cloth, your friend and mine, the Green Grandma). I quickly decided that if I was going to give cloth diapering a go, it needed to be with an all-in-one diaper.

What is an All-In-One (AIO) Diaper?
All-in-one diapers have an inner absorbent layer attached to an outer waterproof layer with adjustable closures (either Velcro® or snaps). All-in-one diapers are just like disposable diapers except you wash them!

* Most convenient
* Easiest to use
* Most like disposables diapers (trimmest fit on baby's butt)

* One of the most expensive cloth diapering options
* Takes a long time to dry

Many online consumers recommended the brand bumGenius™, so that’s what I started with. Because I wasn’t sure if I could commit to cloth, I bought 10 used bumGenius™, diapers from a seller I found on my local craigslist (go to, choose the city nearest you). I paid $10 per diaper. New, they cost $16. Ten diapers allowed me to get nearly two days of usage between washings. (It is recommended that you wash cloth diapers every other day. The longer between washing, the more time for bacteria to multiply, and they’re smellier and harder to clean. I don’t let mine sit for more than two days before washing.)

Before starting to use cloth, I installed a diaper sprayer. Similar to the sprayer on your kitchen sink, this sprayer hooks up to your toilet plumbing and allows you to spray the poop into the toilet. No swishing it in the bowl. I’ve never swished. The diaper sprayer I use is manufactured by bumGenius™ and is available both online (,,
and in select retail stores across the country. The bumGenius™ diaper sprayer runs about $45 and I installed this myself without any trouble.

Some words of caution: spray carefully! The spray’s force is adjustable, and a very strong spray can ricochet off of the diaper. You don’t want a bathroom covered with poop-infused water spray. Seriously though, this is a great product that I would NOT be cloth diapering without.

So, I started with 10 used size small AIO BumGenius diapers, a diaper sprayer, a $10 diaper pail from WalMart, biokleen™ Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator ( and Allens Naturally liquid laundry detergent ( Allen’s is a bit expensive but is very concentrated. Truly, just 1 ounce per wash. I use a dry pail and spray Bac-Out on my diapers, then also put some Bac-Out in the washing machine.

Another note of caution: using too much detergent makes diapers smelly! You must use the right amount of detergent (will take some trial and error) and do an extra rinse. AIOs need to be rinsed completely of detergent, or they will have a very pungent odor. Every once in a while, I strip them with Dawn dishwashing liquid and once in a blue moon, I do a strip with some bleach. Then I wash those diapers again like normally, so there isn’t any bleach residue in the diapers. Usually, I line-dry the diapers. AIOs take a very long time to dry and are often not completely dry even after a full day in the sun. It seems like I always have to tumble dry for a while, too. But for me, the convenience of AIOs makes this negative trait tolerable.

Since I liked BumGenius, I bought a dozen size medium AIOs, new from the website. I got a mixed lot of colors and they’re actually very cute! Later, I ended up buying 6 “one-size” AIOs (again, from craigslist). I think that I actually like the one-size diapers better. You stuff the absorbent layer in the middle of these diapers, and it seems that since you take out the insert, it washes and dries easier. They are big, though. Snaps allow for size versatility, but I wouldn’t recommend one-size AIOs for babies smaller than 13 lbs. Teeny babies look so puffy in the one-size ones. I typically reserve the one-size AIOs for nighttime wear.

I got a lot of my info about how to launder cloth diapers from the following site:

bumGenius™ diapers can be purchased via the Internet or in some retail stores. Visit and click on the ‘locations’ tab.

Craig's list ( -- select your state and then nearest town/city) is a great place for used goods. I don’t recommend buying secondhand cloth diapers sight-unseen as you could end up with a stained or very worn product. With craigslist (or other face-to-face/in person exchanges) you can see what you’re buying, before you buy.

I estimate that I have about $450 invested in cloth diapers and products. When my daughter is potty trained, I should be able to resell some of my stuff and recoup a couple hundred dollars. So, if I stick with cloth, I will be able to pay less than $300 on diapering over the course of 2.5 to 3 years. Essentially, cloth diapering for 2.5 years the “expensive” way with all-in-one diapers should end up costing me about $2.30 PER WEEK. Disposable diapers cost, say, $0.25 per diaper. Multiply that by 7 diapers per day, and it ends up being about $12.25 per week for disposables. However, for me it’s not about the money (although the savings is a nice byproduct); it’s about producing less garbage and keeping our earth, and my daughter, healthier.

All around, the pros of using cloth really do outweigh the gross-out factor. It’s worth it.

Alright. I'm going to apologize now about posting something girly and dumb, especially since I rarely share my 2-cents online here on this blog... but, I just found the perfect nail polish shade. I don't usually wear nail polish, because I don't really take care of my nails. No time. Plus, the polish is either too sheer, too bright, too shiny, too "glittery" (I hate this trend)--but as I was browsing the clearance bins at Target, I tried out a color that seemed perfect. The brand is Rimmel, Lycra wear 10, in #286 Oyster Pink. (Target $2.44) With one coat, it's sheer but with a matte finish, not overpowering. Not goopy. Not glittery. It's very understated. I may actually paint my nails occasionally now!