Friday, April 20, 2012

More On Cloth Diapering

One of my friends from high school, like me, really enjoys cloth diapering; so I asked her to guest blog about her experience with it!


Cloth Diapering|  A look into our experience with cloth

Hello readers!  My name is Emma and I am the mother of a beautiful little girl named Isabel.  She is my sunshine!  When I was asked by Megan to write this post I felt so honored and excited and I wasn’t sure where to begin!  There are SO many things I love about cloth diapering and I wasn’t sure how to channel them all into one blog post, so I decided that a question and answer format might be best. I’ve tried to include some of the questions I am most frequently asked by people who see or hear about me using cloth. So! I hope you enjoy reading about our experience with cloth diapers. 

Q: Why did you decide to use cloth diapers?
We decided to use cloth diapers primarily because of the cost savings.  The secondary reason was for environmental purposes.  But a HUGE added bonus for cloth diapering is how stylish the diapers are!  No boring white huggies or pampers on my baby’s bottom.  Instead she can romp around in pink zoo animals or solid magenta to match her top.

Q: So you save money,but how much do you really save?
The average family spends about $12 a week, per child, on disposable diapers.  This adds up to about $1,248 per child if your child potty trains at the age of 2.  The average cloth diaper stash costs between$200-$600 depending on the styles chosen, and cloth diapers can be used for more than one child, so that is a considerable savings if you ask me!  Also, cloth diapers tend to hold their value really well, so when you’re done with them,you can sell them and get a portion of your investment back!

Q: But cloth diapering is so old-school!  Do you use,like, pins and stuff?

No, modern cloth diapering is so easy!  You can still use pins to cloth diaper, but you don’t need to and we certainly don’t!  Cloth diapers these days mainly use snap closure or hook and loop (Velcro) closure and they come in many, many different styles.  I’ll just touch on a few of the styles we use. 

We primarily use what is called a “pocket” diaper.  It is called this because there is an outer layer of waterproof material (polyurethane laminate or PUL), attached to a layer of fleece with a pocket opening on one end.  Because fleece is not absorbent (it is moisture wicking and takes the moisture away from baby’s skin), you stuff the diaper with an absorbent insert.  The most popular material for inserts is microfiber.  The nice thing about pocket diapers is that you can customize the absorbency to your baby. If you have a heavy wetter, you can double up the microfiber insert, or you use a hemp or bamboo insert (which are SUPER absorbent and very trim).  The same goes for nighttime when your baby will be wearing the diaper for a longer amount of time.  We use two brands of pocket diapers:BumGenius 4.0 (in snap and hook and loop) and Sunbaby diapers (in snap) but there are lots of other good brands out there.

Another type of diaper we use is called an all-in-two (A12)diaper.  This style diaper means that you use two pieces – a waterproof cover and an insert.  Instead of stuffing the insert into a pocket,the insert lays on top of the cover.  The idea behind this style is that when the diaper is dirtied, you can just change out the insert for a new one and reuse the same cover multiple times, as long as it was not dirtied.  The advantage to this style diaper is that you can buy about half as many covers as inserts and save money since the inserts are not as expensive as the covers.  This style is also nice for long trips because 10 or 12 inserts and 5 covers, for example, are a little easier to pack and take up less room than 10 or 12 pocket diapers.  The brand we use are called SoftBums and these are a hook and loop (Velcro) style diaper.

A third style of diaper we use is a prefold (think your traditional flat white piece of cloth), with a snappi (I’ll explain this in a sec) and a diaper cover.   Prefolds and covers are great for newborns.  They are very absorbent, and come clean very easily and since you’re changing your newborn so often, you don’t need to worry about the fact that the prefolds don’t wick the moisture away from your baby’s bum.  Snappi’s are the new pins and they are best explained with a photo (see below). 
Thanks to Snappibaby.com for the photo.

As you can see it is a stretch band that spreads across three points of the diaper and hooks in with little teeth.  There are lots of styles of waterproof covers for this type of system, but we use Flip brand diaper covers.

All of the diapers and covers we have are one-size diapers.  Which means they are designed to fit babies from about 8-35 lbs, or birth to potty training.  This means that the diapers will grow with our baby.

But there are many more styles of cloth diaper!  Other types you might hear about are all-in-ones, and fitteds.  The ones mentioned above are just the ones we’ve used.

Q: How often do you change your baby’s diaper when using cloth?

We change our daughter every 2-3 hours during the day, and at night she stays in the same diaper for about 8 hours.

Q: How long have you been cloth diapering?

Isabel is currently 4 months old and we started cloth diapering her when she was about 6 weeks old. Since she is our first child, we weren’t exactly sure how to cloth diaper a newborn so we decided to use disposables until she was big enough to fit into the cloth diapers we had.  But now that we know how easy it is to cloth diaper, we will certainly cloth diaper baby #2 right from the hospital!

Q: Does using cloth diapers change the size of clothing your baby wears?

This is a tricky question to answer since every baby is shaped differently.  For us, Isabel does need to wear one size larger onsie than normal, but it has not affected her pant or shirt size at all.

Q: Cloth diapering seems like a lot of work!  And what about poop, do you have to touch it?!

Cloth diapering can be as easy or as fussy as you want it to be!   And no, you don’t have to touch poop any more than you would with any other kind of diaper.  In fact, I’d argue that I touch poop less.  See the next question for my reason why….

Q: Do they leak or have blowouts often?

We have experienced far fewer leaks and blowouts with our cloth diapers than we did when we used disposables!  The only times your diapers will leak with cloth is if you have 1) a fit issue, 2) a build up of soap (see my laundry question), or 3) if your baby has been in the diaper too long for the amount of absorbency it had.

Q: What about laundry?  Are you always washing the diapers?  And do they have to be washed a special way?

We do cloth diaper laundry once every two days.  And yes, cloth diapers do require a special wash routine – but it’s not hard!  I promise!   You just need to use a cloth diaper safe laundry detergent (one that is free of additives like enzymes,brighteners, dyes, and softeners) and do a few extra rinse cycles with each load of laundry to prevent soap build up which can mess with the absorbency of your diapers.  If you’d like to know specifics about my cloth diaper laundry routine, email me at emmabraford@gmail.com, or check out my YouTube Channel @MsBMommy.

Q:  Do you work? How does your nanny/daycare handle your use of cloth?

I do work and my nanny has NO problems using our cloth diapers.  In fact, I think she likes it.  And she says other moms who see her changing our daughter always ask her about it and she tells them how easy it is.

Q: Do babies who wear cloth diapers get diaper rash?

They can, but it is rare. If your baby gets a diaper rash, you can still treat it.  You just need to use a cloth-diaper safe rash cream.  Some popular brands are CJ’s butter, and Grandma El’s, and some diaper companies make their own rash creams as well.  We use Grandma El’s and LOVE it!
Q: It seems like you know a lot about cloth diapering.  How did you learn it all?

I did most of my cloth diaper research on YouTube. There are lots of knowledgeable mommies out there who love to share their tips and tricks with you via video blogs.  I’ve decided to become one of them.  You can view my cloth diaper videos on my YouTube Channel @MsBMommy. 

Q: Okay! You convinced me!  Now how should I start and what do I get?

I recommend you get a few of several different kinds of cloth diapers and see which type fit your baby best.  Each brand is a different shape and size and you never know what will work for your baby. There are some online companies that offer cloth diaper starter kits with a sampling of several different brands and styles.  One example is Greendiaperdemos.com.

You may also need a few cloth diapering accessories, such as a diaper pail with a wet bag, and a travel wet bag for your diaper bag.

Q: Where do you buy your cloth diapers?

The majority of my cloth diapers were purchased used. I bought some on ebay, I bought some from individuals I found on the facebook page called Fluff Swappers.  And I bought some used at a local cloth diaper retailer. You can also buy used diapers on a website called Spot’s Corner. Or you can look for them on craigslist.  You can buy brand new cloth diapers in local stores, and through many online retailers.  Some popular online stores are Kellyscloset.com, greendiaperdemos.com, diaperjungle.com, andsweetbottomsbaby.com. You can also find cloth diapers on flash sale sites likeecomodernbaby.com, babysteals.com, and zulily.com from time to time.

Thank you SO much for taking the time to read about ourcloth diaper experience!  I reallyappreciate it.  If you have any questions,I’d love to answer them!  Comment below,or send me an email at emmabraford@gmail.com.

Okay, one last thing! Megan also asked me if I would talk to you about my company’s swaddling bags.  My mom and I started a joint venture called joyBundle brands and we created a modern swaddling bag that uses no Velcro and no zippers.  You can see a photo of my little peanut in it below: 


If you’d like to know more about these bags, please visit our site at www.myjbandme.com

Thanks again guys! 
Emma

Emma Braford is the 26 year old wife to Jason, mother of one sweet little girl, Isabel, and a full-time working mom.  She works for Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the Worship Arts Department.  She is also the owner and founder of Elephant Shoe Photography (specializing in newborn photography) and co-owner and founder of  joyBundle Brands, LLC (specializing in swaddling bags for babies).  In her free time (ha what a joke), she likes to make videos on her YouTube channel,watch Grey’s Anatomy, and read (usually books about her baby’s development).  Her current guilty pleasure is chocolate! 

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