Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cloth Diapering: Intro

We'll be starting a short series on Cloth Diapering the next couple of weeks.  First, a little background and introduction into the world of cloth diapers:

I’m not going to lie. I first became interested in cloth diapering when I discovered how much money you could save.  Of course I like the environmental benefits, but it sure seemed like a lot of extra work for that to be my number one source of interest.  Having researched the topic with my oldest child and then getting cold feet at the last minute, I was familiar with the topic.  After I saw a financial breakdown of savings (conservative estimates show a $1,000 savings over 2.5 years), I just couldn’t avoid it anymore.  I was intrigued.  So, I took the plunge and decided to try cloth diapering with my son, Hollin.

My Backstory:
I consider myself a stay-at-home-mom, but I have the good fortune to be able to work from home (most of the time) for Lullaby Lane. I organize and teach classes for Lullaby U, blog, and generally help out where needed.  My biggest job, however, is “House Manager”.  It’s my job to see that we’re spending our money where it counts and saving where we can.  I make my own bread/bagels/pizza dough each week.  I even make my own laundry detergent.  And guess what? It works.  I like to research and learn.  I especially like to share my knowledge.  Which can make me a huge pain in the ass.

The Research: 
There is so much information out there on cloth diapering and it can be overwhelming.  Find a couple of reliable sources and don’t stray.  I’m lucky because I have a few friends who cloth diaper.  I spoke with them directly, visited their homes to see their set-up, and got brand recommendations.

After you choose your specific brand, read about how to properly care for that diaper.  Each brand is similar in washing recommendations, but not exactly the same.  Cloth diapers are an upfront financial investment, so you’ll want to care for them exactly as recommended.  For example, some companies say wash on hot, others say warm.  Heed their advice!

The Trial and Error:
Lullaby Lane Store Manager & Buyer, Lindsay Gill, has done her research.  She selected a couple of great brands and a few specific cloth diaper systems to carry in the store, all of which are easy to use and quality products.  I checked out the various brand websites and decided to go with the GroVia cloth diapers.  I liked their website layout, and it turns out their Customer Service gal, Patty, is pretty great.  I know, because I called Patty everyday for a week. We’re buddies now.  

After correctly prepping (washing & drying a handful of times) my diapers, I started using the GroVia Hybrid system.  This consists of a waterproof outer shell and a snap-in soaker pad.  The shell comes in either a super easy Velcro tab front or a snap front.  I chose Velcro, and it literally closes exactly like a disposable.  You can adjust the rise to fit the size of your baby, too.  My guy was 3.5 months old and 18lbs.  He was on the smallest rise, so they will fit all the way until toilet learning.

After the first wear, I was hooked.  This thing absorbed.  And I’m even talking watery-nursing infant- poo’s.  But my excitement turned to disappointment when I put him in cloth at night - it leaked like a mother. The next morning pee was all the way up his back to his neck!  I called Patty.  She informed me that it actually takes 10 washes for the soaker pads to be fully absorbent, even thought it says 3-5 washes is sufficient on their packaging and website. (She’s working on getting that corrected!)

Next I tried the GroVia All-In-One Diaper (AIO).  This guy is just like it sounds – one piece.  The organic cotton lining soaker pad feels divine.  And the outer shell is super soft and silky.  These diapers have a snap closure that looks complicated, but once you get it down it literally takes seconds.  These are more trim and narrow between the legs compared to the hybrid. I washed these 5 times to prep them as it indicated on the website and packaging, but again, I’ve had some leakage problems.  And this time it was during the day, so it wasn’t a heavy wetting.  I think these diapers would be great for a petite baby or a girl.  My guys parts aren’t as easily contained in these AIO’s, but by adjusting accordingly, I’ve put a stop to any leaks.


End Conclusion:
I’m in to this. I love the way it feels to put a REAL diaper on my babies’ bottom.  And this is going to sound funny, but his bum is so damn soft. Like, inexplicable soft. Honestly, it hasn’t puked me out at all.  I mean, it is your baby.  So, that being said – This family is taking the plunge. We’re going cloth up in this house!!!  I chose to commit to the GroVia hybrid system.   Will we have disposables around?  You bet.  Just in case I don’t have time to pack everything in the diaper bag or we’re heading on a long trip.

Update: I still keep my boy in disposables at night.  I did a ton of reading, and it seems like the nighttime leakage issue is pretty common. I chose not to fight it, but would love to hear from those of you that found a way to combat it!  Any tips or suggestions to share?

Coming up in the series we’ll cover terms to help you get familiarized, share how to properly care for your stash, walk you through some basic rules, and even give you a shopping list! Oh, and of course we'll discuss the poo part. It's not bad, I promise!  Stay tuned for more!

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