A Lazy, Cheap Mom’s Guide to Cloth Diapering

Be forewarned, this post is long. And full of pictures. I wanted to give as much detail as possible. None of this post is sponsored and I have not been paid by anyone that I mention. Brands are mentioned purely for my likes of them. 😀

When I was pregnant, I felt totally overwhelmed by the idea of cloth diapers. I knew it was what I wanted to do, but I there are so many options and everyone has a different preference based on their own routines and needs. While so many speak of the benefits, not so many actually tell you what to do. The ones that do tell you how they do it have extensive routines that I just couldn’t keep up with.

It took me until this second baby to find what really fit for us: prefolds with wool covers. I wrote a bit about why this is my favorite method here. Yeah, it sounds complicated and confusing, but it’s not. There’s also a wealth of benefits in using wool. Plus, of course, it’s all pretty dang cheap. At least if you do it my way.

The Goods

I almost exclusively buy our cloth diapering items at Diaper Swappers. It’s a site where you can buy and sell used cloth diapers. Sound gross? It’s really not. Washing cloth diapers gets any of the grossness off and drying, either in the drier or especially in the sun, makes sure its gone for good. If you’re concerned, there are various products you can get that are supposed to get rid of any bacteria in diapers. Buying diapers used means you can save a significant amount. With the brand of prefolds I buy, I’ve hardly lost a dime in buying them used and selling them when we go up a size.

Which gets me to the brand. I did a lot of research on prefold brands before buying them. Green Mountain Diapers had nothing worse than amazing reviews. After comparing them to some Gerbers I use as burp rags (it was a not-enough-diapers-while-out emergency) I can happily agree that they are awesome. They are spendy for prefolds, but prefolds are one of the cheapest options in the cloth diapering world. Two dozen easily gets me by and if you buy them new, that’s only $70. One prefold all night (since Twig hates to get out of bed to be changed) and zero leaks. For the lots-at-once wetting toddler, I use one of sister’s smaller prefolds folded into thirds as a doubler for her toddler-sized prefold. Part of the leak protection, of course, is the wool cover.

Peanut’s bum is so full of diaper that she waddles. It’s pretty hilarious.

Wool covers. There’s a billion places you can buy them. And they’re quite often expensive. Diaper Swappers is another great place to get them, but also Hyena Cart and Etsy. There’s probably a mom near you selling handmade wool covers right now! Or, if you’re cheap like me, you can make your own. Learn to knit (here’s my favorite pattern on Ravelry), crochet, or follow a tutorial on how to make them out of recycled wool sweaters. Even if you do buy them, I easily get by with 3 (though currently that’s two with a third being knit) and a backup or two of something non-wool (I have 1 PUL and one fleece) just in case, so it’s not super expensive.

Useful accessories: snappi (some prefer pins, but I could never get them figured out) for securing the prefold, cloth wipes (wish I could tell you where I got them, but they’re just cotton with surged edges), wetbags (more on that later), and some coconut oil for diaper rash cream.

The Method

While it’s certainly not as easy as throwing on a pocket diaper or disposable, prefolds aren’t as difficult as they look. There’s an array of folding options. I toyed around with a lot of them trying to get Twig’s huge breastfed poops to stay off her cover, but none of them really ended up working 100% of the time. Luckily, she stopped pooping in such big bursts, so it ended up being only an occasional problem. Now that she’s eating some solids, there’s no problem with that at all.

The trick is to get the diaper on the baby before she pulls this move.

Since none were preferred for keeping poop in, I just picked the one that was the quickest and easiest for me: the jelly roll. Kept the poop in most of the time and it was super fast and mindless. Plus, having a chunky baby, it was nice to be able to fan out the top easily. Secure with a snappi and pull on a cover. Voila!

The wipes all piled in the changing table drawer next to covers. Coconut oil is in the jar with the blue lid.

When baby has just a pee diaper, I don’t wipe. Really, it seems to cause more irritation to my kids rubbing the wipe over their skin than just letting the pee dry. For poop, I just run a couple of wipes under the tap and ring them out (not too much!) before walking to the changing table. I switch between wool covers if the current one feels wet and sometimes just for kicks. Dirty diapers go in the wetbag. Dirty wool goes straight to the sink.

The wetbag connected to the changing table.

Speaking of wetbags, I made mine. Well, my mom made my carry around wetbags and then supervised me making the at-home one and I still need to make one more. Currently there’s no pattern, but I’m hoping to make one in the near future to share. Before making these, I used a small trash can lined with a reusable grocery bag (the kind that you can fold up into a ball). This worked well when we used gDiapers, but with the prefolds being larger, it filled up too quick. Plus the pooch thinks diapers are AWESOME and she figured out how to open the trash can, so we had to keep it up high. Unfortunately, this was perfectly nose-height. Hence the new system. I’m happy to say that the PUL fabric at Joann’s is smell-proof.

The Washing

First off, do not wash the wool in a machine. It will felt, especially on hot. I neglected to tell my mother-in-law this and now I have a newborn sized felted soaker. I’m saving it for any possible future babies.

We wash diapers every time the wetbags are all full or I’m running low on diapers, about every two days. It’s really more of the former than the latter now that I have 30 diapers. For a month or two we were getting by on a dozen, so they were washed nightly because I can’t get through 2 days with only 12 diapers.

Generally my lovely husband does the diaper laundry. Isn’t he grand? First it’s a cold rinse (we have a really basic top loader, so each step is done manually) without soap. Just set the dial all the way to rinse and start it. It can be on hot/cold because the cold means that it’s a cold rinse. Then we do a full hot/cold cycle with Country Save. Even if it’s a bunch of diapers, we only use somewhere around 1/8 of the cup. Diapers don’t need much soap.

The cold rinse setting.

Wetbags are hung to dry, as is the PUL cover if it needs a wash (rarely). The fleece can go in the dryer. We have to dry the prefolds twice to get them fully dry. If I’ve done the diapers myself in the daytime and I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll hang them out on the line. Stains are simply zapped out by the sun. Isn’t nature great?

Wool doesn’t need to be washed every time you use it. Actually far from. It only needs to be washed if A. It gets poop on it, B. It needs to be lanolized, or C. It gets stinky. I have yet to experience C.

When poop gets on the soaker, you can spot clean it. I use some wool wash soap samples I got from a friend and all you do is run some tepid (feels neither hot nor cold to the skin) tap water on it and rub on some soap, rinse the soap off and dry. Drying means rolling it up in a towel and then hanging it to dry on the line. This time of year and using the knit wool (as opposed to felted), it’s dry in a couple of hours. You know your wool needs to be lanolized if it starts to feel wet or leaks. Honestly, I just end up lanolizing sometimes when poo gets on the cover. I use this method.

Out and About

The diaper bag necessities.

Really, this whole method transfers well to the public realm. I have a changing pad and I carry a squirt bottle and sanitizer in case there’s a poop when we’re not near a sink. I bring one, sometimes two covers. Most often 3-4 prefolds, more if we’ll be gone longer. Dirty diapers go in the travel-sized wetbag.

What’s your favorite cloth diaper? Any suggestions for my methods? Any questions? 

Knitted Wool Longies

As I’ve mentioned, I love wool diaper covers.

By the way, there’s still just over a week left enter the giveaway for a wool soaker from Zinny Jane. There’s not a ton of entries yet and it’s super easy to enter!

So when Twig was born, I decided to knit her some wool longies. It took quite some time with a newborn and toddler, but I’m so happy I made them. They’re super cute and work perfectly as a diaper cover. No leaking whatsoever and they only feel a bit damp if I need to lanolize, which is true to all wool.

The pattern was really easy and is located here. I did the knit flat pattern in newborn and even though Twig is above the recommended weight (or at least she was 3 ounces below it a month ago, so I’m assuming she is now), she still fits in them. I made the legs plenty long, so she’ll outgrow the rise before the legs I’m certain. She seems to have relatively short legs anyway, because some of her 3-6 month clothes fit everywhere except the length of the legs.

I’ll definitely be knitting these again one size up as soon as I finish my current project of a blanket for my mother-in-law and a wool soaker for Peanut at night. Of course I have a lot of projects in my head, but this one is definitely on my short list of making soon. Speaking of my projects, if any of you knitters are interested, friend me on Ravelry! I almost have my whole stash on there (my aunt gave me an insane amount of yarn because shes so awesome) and I’ve been keeping track of my projects there too. Loving that site.

Zinny Jane Wool Soaker Review and Giveaway! Ending 4.29 Worldwide!

We had A LOT of problems with Peanut and diaper rash. She spent so much of her first two years with actual open sores on her bum that I’m surprised that she doesn’t have scars. We did everything we were supposed to do to both prevent and get rid of rash. Plenty of airing-out time, wiping with water only, cloth diapers, etc. When all of that didn’t work, we ended up getting various creams from the doctor, which still didn’t do much. Eventually the rash would go away, just to turn around and come back for virtually no reason. Even when the open sores weren’t there, she always was pink.

Without a medical degree or testing this at all, since it only occurred to me in hindsight, I think it might have been the lack of breathability of her diapers. Especially at night.

This realization made me want to use more breathable diapers on Twig when she came. I also needed something that I could easily remove for elimination communication. After reading this post by Hobo Mama on prefolds and That Mama Gretchen’s Wool Week posts, I decided that was the route I wanted to go. I started in search of prefolds and wool covers.

That’s when I stumbled upon Zinny Jane on Etsy.

This lovely woman knits the cutest wool soakers in the world! I’ve been using the small one she sent me in combination with other covers and I have to say, it’s by far my favorite. It is absolutely darling. I know that soakers generally go under clothes, but I often find myself putting Twig in this one with leggings just because it is So. Frickin’. Cute.

And it’s not just cute. It’s really well knit. Knowing some about knitting myself, I can recognize a plain pattern versus an intricate one. This one has special ribbing in all the right places rather than just around the legs and middle. It has different colors of yarn used for the stripes, but I’ve had zero problem with the seams leaking or anything of that sort. It’s all perfectly the same tension and it’s really tightly weaved. I’ve heard others say that they can’t use knit covers for nighttime, only felted will do. This one has had zero issue, even with me finding out the other day that I had only partially been lanolizing my wool (I was using wool wash with lanolin, but not any pure lanolin). Zero leaks even when her prefold is literally sopping in every square centimeter. And, teamed with a stay dry liner, very little pink rash.

Beyond that, it’s super easy to clean. Twig has monster poops. She only poops once or twice a day, rather than the probably 4-5 times Peanut used to when she was this age, and she definitely makes up for it all at once. I’ve seriously tried Every. Single. Fold. that is supposed to contain breastfed baby poop, but it still gets on the covers (any tips or ideas on this would be great!). If you use wool, you know how much of a pain it is for poop to get on the wool. You can’t just throw wool in the washing machine, you have to hand wash it. Some of my wool covers seem to just hold the poop in. I spend upwards of 2 minutes scrubbing to get it all out of the fibers, which is difficult when Twig is screaming to be picked up and Peanut is screaming to be played with. This cover has it all come off instantly and there’s zero staining, even in the off-white colored yarn. It’s awesome! And it dries quick too!

Beyond that, Molly, the owner of Zinny Jane, is amazing. She spent quite a few messages back and forth with me explaining what to measure, how to measure it, and what sizes would be best. Since Twig is such a huge baby (13 lbs 13 oz at 9 weeks!), she sent me two covers to review! One small and one medium. How nice is that??! I know how much time and effort goes into knitting a project, so in my mind that gives her extra props. Honestly, I wish I owned more of them even. I just love this soaker so much! I’m sure that I’ll be talking my husband into getting some more soon.

So do any of you want to win a wool soaker?! You can! (make sure to leave a comment for each entry!)

*Mandatory*  1 entry – Go check out Zinny Jane’s Etsy store and tell me which product is your favorite in a comment! (don’t forget to include your email in your first entry so I can contact you if you win!)

1 entry – follow me on Twitter. If you already follow, you still get an entry!

1 entry – Tweet about this giveaway (leave a link to the tweet in the comment). You can tweet about this giveaway once every day for an entry. That’s up to 31 entries just from tweeting!

2 entries (make 2 separate comments) – follow this blog by RSS or email.  If you already follow, you still get an entry!

2 entries – become a fan of The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, you still get an entry!

2 entries – become a fan of Zinny Jane on Facebook. If you’re already a fan, you still get an entry!

1 entries – Write a post on your Facebook page about this giveaway! Make sure you link to The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook in the post and leave a comment here each time you do it. You can do it once per day! That’s up to 31 entries!

4 entries – blog about this contest (leave a link the comment). Once per giveaway.

This contest is worldwide. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, April 29th at 5PM Mountain Standard Time by random. The winner will be emailed and must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck everyone!

Oh Katy Diaper Review

Get ready for the Peanut and baby photo shoot!

As many of you know, we are on the tail end of Peanut’s diaper life. She’s been potty training for about two months now and I think she’s getting the hang of it. Since we’re potty training, she’s diaper free for most of the day, but during naps and night time she’s still rockin’ the cloth diapers. I love cloth diapers. Seriously So. Frickin’. Cute. We’ve been using almost exclusively gDiapers since Peanut was big enough to fit in them, but honestly I’ve been wanting to broaden my horizons. So when I saw Oh Katy diapers at the Great Cloth Diaper Change, I had to get some!

Peanut's baby in an Oh Katy diaper. It's large on baby, but that's a tiny diaper!

And I must say, I’m impressed! Not only do these diapers get super, super tiny for newborns (see picture to the right), but they also can hold up to toddler sized waterfalls of pee! It’s amazing! And, while I still love my gDiapers, I’m very happy to have diapers that always smell fresh and delightful (since you reuse the outside cover on the gDiapers, it gets stinky after a while).

Butt in the air Peanut. 😛

Peanut has been undoing her gDiapers for quite some time now (the velcro in the back helps, but it’s still velcro), but she can’t undo these for the life of her! Very, very nice commodity when your poopy toddler is being impatient. You can even wrap them up this special way so don’t have to carry a wetbag! What an idea!

Peanut and baby smiling for the camera

I am thoroughly impressed with these diapers. It’s a local {to me} mama who makes them and she’s just a lovely person. I really enjoyed chatting with her. I’m excited to use these on Twig and I love that they’ll fit him/her from day 1 until {theoretically} 5 years! I just hope Twig doesn’t stay in diapers that long.

Now guess what!? You can win one! Are you so excited? Here’s how you enter! (Please leave 1 comment for each entry.)

*Mandatory*  1 entry – leave a comment with your favorite Oh Katy diaper color! Here’s a link to the different colors (the names for the colors are in the pull down tab)

1 entry – follow me on Twitter

1 entry – follow Oh Katy on Twitter.

1 entry – Tweet about this giveaway (leave a link to the tweet in the comment)

2 entries (make 2 separate comments) – follow this blog by RSS or email.  

2 entries – follow Oh Katy’s blog by RSS or email. 

2 entries – become a fan of The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook

2 entries – become a fan of Oh Katy on Facebook.

2 entries – blog about this contest (leave a link the comment) 

The winner will be chosen on Monday, June 20th at 5PM Mountain Standard Time by random. The winner will be emailed and must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck everyone!

Congrats Vashti McMurray! You are the winner of the Oh Katy diaper! 

The Great Cloth Diaper Change

Nursing Peanut before the changing.

Saturday was The Great Cloth Diaper Change. I’m sad that I didn’t blog about it earlier so that people would know to participate, but last week was finals and my brain was dead for a few good days afterwards. Honestly, I’d forgotten about it until I noticed it in my calendar Thursday-ish, so it’s a good thing I made it at all.

The event was amazing. It was so cool to see so many cloth diapering families come together. I was amazed how many husbands were there too! I thought about making mine come, but decided he should be allowed to sleep in on Saturday (the doors opened at 9am and we had to drive an hour to get there). There were goody bags and booths full of attachment parenting items. Even a drawing for prizes.

Holding Peanut up post-changing.

The Utah event was put together by the people who run ClothDiaper.com and Cloth Diaper Utah (along with other sponsors). It was really fun to hear stories of people who cloth diapered twenty years ago when it wasn’t so popular. I’m proud to say that my mom cloth diapered my brother and me when we were babies and she came with me. She also took some awesome pictures of the event for me.

The end number in Utah was 63 babies, but there were 400 sites world-wide (and Australia had to change them at 2:30am!) so the number for the Guinness Book of World Records will be much higher than that. This is an amazing way to bring awareness to such a wonderful and simple (yes, cloth diapering really is simple) aspect of attachment parenting. Changing this one thing about your parenting not only limits your baby’s exposure to chemicals, but also helps the planet immensely. I urge all parents to at least look in to cloth diapers. They aren’t as difficult as they look and things have changed a ton since the days when we were all babies. Not to mention saving an incredible amount of money. Seriously, almost all parenting decisions I make are because I’m cheap and/or lazy.

Did you participate in the Great Cloth Diaper Change? Do you cloth diaper? Are you interested in cloth diapering? Please post any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them! 

Motherlove Green Salve Review and Giveaway!

It seems Miss Peanut has a sensitive bum.

It’s silly that it’s taken me over a year to figure this out, but I guess when you have cloth diapers you don’t notice such things. The few times we’ve used a disposable diaper, she always gets a little red. Really though, we’ve used them so infrequently that it just simply didn’t occur to me. Thank goodness I was planning on cloth diapers from the start so I never had to deal with transferring over because of a rashy baby.

Back to the point—rashy Peanut. After not swimming all winter long (I know! Who doesn’t swim in winter!??!), we had a playdate planned to meet a friend and her daughter at a local splash pad. Getting ready to head out the door, I go grab her swim diaper. Oh my, this looks mighty small now. Let’s see if it still fits. Oh boy, it certainly does not. So we decided to drop by Target and buy some disposable swim diapers. I figured that I would order a new cloth one off the internet and this one time wouldn’t hurt, right?

Yeah, you can’t just buy one swim diaper. They come in a pack of 20.

So I quickly decided that we would just have to use these ones up before buying a new cloth one. Why would I waste all those swim diapers? They’re not cheap either! I could get a cloth diaper for how much I paid for those!

Then, of course, Miss Peanut gets a rash from them. Every. Single. Time. That she’s worn one, she’s gotten a rash. Luckily, it’s not anything too awful, just kind of a redness-all-over kind of thing. I let her go diaper free for most of the rest of the day and we’re alright.

Then enters Motherlove’s Green Salve.

When Motherlove contacted me wanting me to review some of their products (see the review for More Milk Plus here), I knew that the Green Salve sounded like a good fit for my family. My husband has some pretty awful eczema and I’ve been looking for ages to find something he can put on it other than that nasty prescription cream.

Of course, life likes to laugh at me.

Little did I know, my husband doesn’t have eczema hardly at all in the summer! It makes sense and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. I think my brain has just been so scattered with the Breastfeeding Cafe and moving and school that I’ve forgotten to think.

So I used the Green Salve on a nasty patch of eczema I had on my knuckle (which, btw, went away within a couple days after nothing else worked over a series of months), but I needed something else to test it on. Then Peanut turns up with one of her swimming rashes.

Wait a second! The site specifically says “softens rashes” on the description of the Green Salve! I’ll try it on Peanut’s bum!

Oh. My Goodness.

Gone! Within hours! Not a whole day or two like normal! This stuff is amazing!

I will openly admit that with a more severe rash she had later (she gets huge open sores if she sits in a poopy diaper for more than 5 minutes), it didn’t work so amazingly. It certainly helped, but just not as much. For the just redness all over though, it was awesome.

And you know when you put diaper cream on your babe and it’s all over your hands and even after scrubbing it off at the sink it’s still all over everything? You can just rub this stuff in! It works better than lotion for my cracked cuticles (yeah, I bite my cuticles, so what?).

So are you ready to win some of this awesome salve? Here’s how you do it!

Please leave an additional comment for each entry.

1 entry — Follow me on Twitter.

1 entry — Follow Motherlove on Twitter.

1 entry — Tweet about this giveaway (i.e. “#breastfeeding #giveway Win Motherlove’s More Milk Plus! http://wp.me/pDcm9-oa”). You can RT once a day.

1 entry — Follow this blog by RSS or email.

1 entry — Vote for this blog on Top Baby Blogs by clicking this link.

1 entry — Follow Motherlove’s blog by RSS.

2 entries (leave 2 separate comments) — Become a fan of The Adventures of Lactating Girl on Facebook.

2 entries — Become a fan of Motherlove on Facebook.

2 entries — Subscribe to Motherlove’s Channel on YouTube.

3 entries — Blog about this contest (leave a link in your comments).

Contest closed! Congrats K La! This giveaway ends September 17th, 2010, at 11:59 MST. A Random Number Generator will be used to choose the winner who will have 48 hours to respond to my email before a new winner is chosen.

Oh My gDiapers

gDiapers. Have I said how much I fricking love these things?

Holy cute for something meant to be shit in!
Sure, there was a bit of a learning curve. We had some problems with leaking. But to be honest, we’ve had problems with leaking in any kind of diaper. Peanut has some anorexic-type baby legs and diapers just aren’t made for that. So, once we got the hang of the things, they turned out to be my favorite diapers.

We moved to the gDiapers right before she was 8 lbs (the recommended weight) which was too soon because I’m impatient and hastey. That didn’t work out and I just chalked it up to her being too small. After hitting 8 lbs, we tried and failed again–this time I decided that her skinny legs were to blame. Only later did I find out I was doing it wrong. There is one very important step when putting on the gDiaper that was mentioned a million times on their website, but somehow I still seemed to miss it.

This is the diaper liner when you first put it on. Make sure to tuck it into the crease between your babe’s leg fat and girley (or boy-ey) parts.

I know what you’re thinking. “Is there really a difference?” Less than an inch, but that inch is the difference between leaky diaper and not leaky diaper.

It is VERY important that you litterally take the liner and tuck it into the crease between their “parts” and leg. You know, that lovely leg flap right there that’s always collecting poo? Yeah, that. They say “right in the crease of their legs like underwear” right on a video on the site, but I still didn’t get it. I AREZ SMRT!!!

So after getting the flushable inserts thing down (with a couple clogs… DON’T FORGET TO SWISH!!!) we moved on to cloth inserts. I bought some and made some. Quite honestly, I like mine more. I just took some of the microfiber cloths and surrounded them in plain old cloth diaper material and sewed around the edges. This will be further explained in a future post after I do my medium/large sized ones and perfect the method a bit.

We still use the flushable inserts at night and I change her once during the night. With the cloth inserts, I change her about every 2-3 hours and we normally don’t have problems with leaks unless I forget to change her.

I just recieved my medium sized g’s and I’m excited to use the new ones with new colors, but also very sad that OMFG MY BABY IS ALREADY IN A MEDIUM?!?! Overall, I’m happy we decided to go with gDiapers and stuck with them long enough to figure it out.

Wanna try g’s? Use this code to get $30 dollars off (so it’s 40 dollars) of a 6 pack of everyday g’s. g729Lindstrom