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June 19, 2012

Back To the Basics of Cloth Diapering

I love to be able to try out new diapers and review them for companies and sometimes we seem to get taken away from the whole scheme of cloth diapering. So this week we will be getting back to the basics of cloth diapering and sharing tips and tricks and suggest some great places to shop and other useful information.

When I think about getting back to the basics I think about some of the most frequently asked questions I get from moms and dads who are considering cloth diapers for their little one. How often do you change the diapers? How do you store the diapers? How do you wash the diapers? and the big bomb of them all...WHAT ABOUT THE POOP! Let me let you in on a little secret...{the poop is not as big of a issue as you might think}. But lets start at the begining...

How often do you change your baby when they are wearing cloth diapers?
-This is such an important question to ask and important to know the answer too. Cloth diapers can indeed hold a lot of liquid so you would think that changing baby every 4-6 hours would work but I highly recommend sticking to changing your child every 2-3 hours.
-Why would this matter? Some diapers have a material in them referred to as 'stay dry'. This material is typically a micro fleece or micro suede. Found more commonly in pocket diapers but can also be found in other styles of diapers. When a diaper has this kind of material in it, it will allow the baby to wet themselves and not really feel it. It helps to keep the moisture away from skin as well by wicking it away into the soakers. However, just because they can't feel the moisture doesn't mean that its not there. When the wetness sits against babys skin it can cause irritation, redness and sometimes even sores and blisters to occur. Also, urine eventually starts to transform into an ammonia compound after sitting for a while so if you keep your baby in a wet diaper for hours on end they could end up with an ammonia burn from their own urine.
-So you might now be wondering about what to do for night time if you should be changing baby every 2-3 hours. Find a night time diaper that has the stay dry material in it. This will help keep baby more comfortable at night. What I have found that works for my DS is a pocket diaper stuffed with a hemp prefold usually does the trick. I also change him as soon as he wakes up in the morning.  Night time I think is an exception for the 2-3 hour rule of thumb because sleep is so important.
-If you are worried about changing diapers every 2-3 hours don't be. You are using cloth diapers and they are reusable so your not 'wasting diapers' by changing them. You are actually helping your child out more by changing them more often then not!

How do you store the diapers?
-With my diapers that currently are in use (the ones that fit at the moment) I keep in bins on my changing table shelves. I have a bin for covers and fitteds, a bin for my OS AIO diapers that we use regularly during the day, and I have a bin for Night time diapers and pocket diapers. On my bottom shelf I keep a bin with wet bags and pail liners as well as a bin full of diapers that are to small for DS to wear.
-For diapers that don't currently fit I store either in a bin (small diapers and prefolds) or in my DS bottom dresser drawer (thats where you could have found my NB diaper stash). If you have no children currently in cloth diapers you can easily put them in a tote and put them in storage but make sure its in a place that has a steady temperature. You don't want to keep them in a dry or super hot area because it can cause the elastic in the diapers to become brittle and dry and crack. Some even recommend washing the diapers every 3-4 months to help keep them fresh as well.
-For dirty diapers I have a pail with a pail liner in it sitting next to the changing table. All wet diapers {not the poopy ones} go into this pail. I also have a pail in the bathroom next to the toilet with a pail liner that I use for the poopy diapers. When I am out and about I usually put one or two wet bags into the diaper bag. When I get home and take the wet bag out I usually just toss the whole bag next to one of my diaper pails or on top of the washer that way I don't find a wet bag 2 weeks later with a super stinky diaper in it.

How do you wash your diapers?
-Collect all dirty and stinky diapers
-Put in washing machine with the fullest load setting to get the most water possible and do a rinse to get out some of the yuck. I use cold water for this part.
-After rinse, wash diapers with the highest water setting again, using warm or hot wash. I typically use the hot water wash. Put your detergent in with this step. Make sure it is a cloth diapers safe detergent. You can find a list of safe ones here.
-After hot wash rinse diapers 1-2 more times with warm or hot water, again on the highest setting to make sure that all detergent has been washed clean and is out of your diapers.
-Drying time: If you are able it is best to hang dry all items with elastic and PUL in them. This will help prolong the life of your diapers. However if you are unable to hang your diapers you can put them in the dryer but be sure to use a low heat option.
-Line Drying outside is a great way to help get stains out of your diapers because the sun is a natural bleaching agent! Works great on stains. If your weather isn't the greatest or you can't have a clothes line I suggest purchasing a drying rack and using it inside your home. I bought one for $10 bucks at Meijer and you can also find them at Walmart or other similar stores for around the same price.

-I kind of have to laugh when I am asked this question. Changing a cloth diaper that is poopy is really not that much more different from changing a disposable diaper that is poopy. You still have to take the diaper off, wipe off  the bottom and put a new diaper on. However the next step is probably what really freaks people out. With a disposable diaper you just chuck it in a waist basket. With a cloth diaper here is what works best. Take the diaper to the toilet. If the poop is pretty solid just plop it out into the toilet, flush, and then put the diaper into your diaper pail. If the poop is kind of squished onto the diaper don't worry! Fold your diaper in half with the poopy part on the outside. Dip into the water and swish around to get the poop off then put into the pail, however if you want something a little less involved, or maybe something a little more fun I recommend a diaper sprayer. You can purchase them for around $50 bucks depending on the brand you get or if you are a handy person you can google or youtube "Make your own Diaper sprayer" and you will find a ton of tutorials and instructions on how to make your own diaper sprayer for $20-$30 bucks! Once you have your diaper sprayer hooked up you just take your diaper (I still fold mine in half with poopy part on the outside) and spray off the poop. Once the diaper is cleaned I put it in the pail and its waiting and ready to be washed. So easy to do! So don't worry to much about poop if you are thinking about cloth diapering.

Whew! That was a lot of information to read but I hope it was helpful. If you have any other tips or suggestions for any of the above topics or even questions to go along with these please share and/or ask in the comments below!


Unknown said...

Terra here, just wanted to add that we don't have a sprayer, nor do we "swish" - if something won't come off easily, we use a wad of toilet paper, and if it's little bits that won't come off - we don't stress about it. We've never had an issue with poop staying in the washer past the rinse cycle.

I had stomach flu a few weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to be able to change my son's diapers, but no way was I going to be able to clean the poop out without ...well...throwing up! I left it for hubby to do. The next day, I went to wash diapers, and thought that he had cleaned that poop diaper out (WHY I didn't check, I have no idea!!!), and I washed it. He got home and came running out of the bathroom asking where the diaper went - I told him I washed it. He freaked, saying he didn't clean it out yet...but all my diapers came out perfectly clean (I did run them all through another rinse for my sanity sake after that discovery, lol!)

But, I just wanted to say, since I have some friends that "will NOT swish", you don't HAVE to swish ;-)

Loving this week!!!

Thanks for gettin' messy, Kristina!! ;-)

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