Tuesday, July 3, 2012

[diapees + wipees] Cloth Diapers, 2 Weeks In

I started cloth diapering the day after A hit 2 months old on Tuesday, June 19.  Now that it's been two weeks, I thought I'd do a quick little recap with some of my beginner thoughts.  

I'll be sure to post follow ups from time to time to keep anyone who's interested up to date.

First things, first... a few notes:

- We've had no leaks.
- We've had no blowouts.
- We've had no issues with stink or build up.
- We have had rash problems.  This is especially sad since I read over and over most babies don't experience rash with cloth.  I'll expand on this below.
- We have had stains after washing.  Also expanded below.

The Learning Curve

Even though I feel like I've read a million blogs, message boards, FAQ sheets, and even support from friends, there is still a first timer's learning curve. There have been a few things I've been dealing with and trying to learn as a go.

Stains -  The first round of laundry I did left some major stains behind.  The diapers were obviously clean after a cold wash, hot wash with a sample of cloth diaper detergent, and cold rinse, but there was some orange/rust looking stains left behind.  I texted a picture (below) to a friend who's been CDing almost a year and she agreed, they should have gotten cleaner.  So I tried again with a soak.  They were a bit better.   Because of when I started the wash, I wasn't able to "sun" them dry which is the cloth diaper way to eliminate stains.  Since I was on a nighttime wash schedule, after about a week, I finally did an Oxyclean soak and they came back looking brand spankin' new.  The only problem is there are conflicting reports (aka opinions) on whether or not Oxyclean is cloth diaper friendly.

clean diaper before figuring optimal wash settings or 'sunning' them dry and back to white
I figure just like some people swear by only using cloth diaper specific detergents and others use store bought brands like Tide powder or All Free and Clear, you just got to do what works for you!

However, now that I've been able to sun my diapers white... holy freaking shit!  It's amazing.  Seriously.  Wet diaper with stains go out, clean looking diapers come back.  The best science experiment ever!

Since we began I've tried various wash cycles with our machine.  Right now, it seems to be working best with a cold/cold Easy Care wash cycle, a hot/cold Powerwash with a soak, and a Easy Care cold rinse.

Rash -  I did experience some rash with A when using disposables.  When I made the switch, after the first 24 hours the small rash that had been lingering was significantly worse.  With being weary of a detergent allergic reaction, I assumed I most likely was not changing her frequently enough since cloth diapers don't wick away moisture as well as disposables.  I went from changing disposables maybe every 3 hrs to now changing cloth every 2 hours or less, aside for long naps and bedtime.

Cloth diapers also require cloth diaper safe diaper cream.  Anything with zinc oxide or fish oils with leave a residue on the cloth which will eventually build up and repel liquid, ya know, the opposite of what the diaper should be doing.  If you want to use a heavier duty cream, you just need to lay down a liner to protect the diaper and then wash the liners separate from the diapers if not using disposables.  I just cut up a flannel (cotton) receiving blanket to use.  This helped the rash get under control.  A few days later it was back.  Again, I didn't know why.  After running out of cloth diaper detergent samples, I ordered a bag of Rockin'  Green.  I was afraid since it was my first load, it was causing the rash.  On the brand's website it said rash could be from previous detergents being lifted by the Rockin Green.  In my case, that would have made it the Oxyclean... hmmm, sounds like it made sense.  Still not really sure, I looked into other rash cream remedies.  I was using CD safe Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm, but I wasn't sure if it had enough kick.  I read about using coconut oil as a natural (and CD safe) remedy and picked some up.  I saw major improvement in 24 hours.  It's still lingering a bit, but I'm hoping between frequent changes, the oil, and some good ol' naked time airing out it's gone completely in a few days.

And, sometimes Mama's do know best.  After my mother suggested cornstarch (twice), I finally picked some up.  I got Baby Bee Dusting Powder and I put it on my fingers then tap it on her bum and in her rolls (so I'm not getting too much in the air to be inhaled, though it is talc free).  It's kept her dry, especially in her roll creases.  So that's my current combo.

... and seriously, how amazing is coconut oil - check this and this out!

Thoughts on brands:

BumGenius 4.0 (pockets) - Seem to be the trimmest, least poofy.  Love the colors and multiple sizing snap options. Not in love with the lining, granted it's what makes them a bit thinner since it isn't a thick fleece, but since it's not a thick fleece I feel like it doesn't wick away wetness as well.  The inserts are easy to stuff, although they are quite thin.  I can see needing a doubler as she gets older.  I like that the inserts have a envelope style tab over the pocket keeping them in place and off her skin.

BumGenius Elementals - most similar to disposables needing no insert.  Worst to wash, stains always left behind. However, stains are easily removed with some sun.

Happy Heinys - I love the fleece lining, and the wide aplix (velcro) closure makes it easy to get a snug fit.  I hate the leg contours.  It cuts across her thighs.  I could lower the rise to the next setting, but then I run the risk of a leak issue.  She also looks like a sumo wrestler wearing them.  I pocket is nice and large for stuffing, but is open, no flap. So far I don't mind them, but I wouldn't buy more.

Rumparooz - Nice fleece lining, seems to keep her feeling a dryer for a little longer.  Also the inner gusset is great for overnights incase she sleeps longer and there is more to catch.  I also use the second insert for these at nighttime to double the absorbency in case she needs it.  They are probably the easiest to stuff and if I had cuter colors I'd probably want to use them during the day too (I only have 2).  Not as trim as the BG probably because of the fleece, but I don't really have complaints about this brand.

Econobum - This is a basically a prefold with a cover.  Because of that, I'm not really a fan.  It's the same company (cottonbabies) that makes BumGenius, and is essentially the Old Navy to the Banana Republic.  If I was more versed with prefolds maybe they'd be great, but not really for me.  They are my "last resort" diaper to use if diaper laundry isn't finished before I run out.  I got them Buy 1 Get 1, so for $9.99 I'm not bitter.  I spend more at Starbucks.

Kawaii - I got this one free from Kelly's Closet with a promo code because I spent a certain amount of money.  It has really thick and fluffy fleece inside, probably nice to have on your butt.  I think these may fit her better when she's older, they just seem so big in the crotch.

Blueberry - I started out LOVING these.  They are the "bamboo" ones, not I have to go back and check, not sure if the insert is only bamboo or if the lining is.  Maybe the insert microterry, whatever.  The lining, probably bamboo, is SO FREAKING soft. After a few wears, I dont like that the pocket doesnt have a flap.  Similar to the Happy Heinys, the extra fabric at the opening just sort of hangs out, even if I tuck it in, it's hard to keep it neat.  I can't imagine dealing with that when she's really squirmy in a few months.  Also when sunning them, the lining gets harder so I have to throw in the dryer when done to fluff it back up.  Similar to Happy Heinys for now, no serious complaints, but probably wouldn't invest in another.

BumCheeks - I got these from a BabySteals.com deal (basically Google's flash sale site).  They are some Australian brand and have a "minky" outer shell instead of PUL.  No preference on that, but I do like how soft they are.  The leg contours on these fit her legs great.  If I see more come up on BabySteals, I might grab another or 2. These are AIO, since the insert is sewn in, but there is still a pocket opening allowing you to stuff another insert if needed.  I like that. 

Thoughts on styles: 
In the battle of Pockets vs. AIOs  (all in ones), pockets win for me.  I really do love the ease of the AIO brands I own (BumGenuis Elementals and BumCheeks Minkys), but I like that I can choose the absorbency level in the pockets, not to mention their drying time is about a 1/3 of the AIO, particularly when line drying.

Thoughts on laundry:
With my current stash size I'm doing laundry every other day.  It doesn't really bother me that I'm doing it that frequently, but at the same time, it seems like I'm in a perpetual round of diaper wash.  I do a lot of laundry anyway - one or two loads for A weekly, a load of towels and sheets, and maybe 3 loads of our own wash since the Husband is constantly bringing home stinky gym clothes that just get worse if I let them marinate.  I considered adding more diapers to the stash to get further between washes, but the pee soaked inserts at the bottom of the wet bag usually stink enough by that time that I'm glad I'm not letting them go another day.

... to note, I can't smell them until I unload the bag into the wash and get a whiff.  No smells have permeated the bag so far.

Thoughts Overall:
I'm sold. As much as I loved the ease of disposables and almost thought when about to switch I might not like cloth as much and have to eat my words, I'm glad I don't have to!  I really love cloth diapering.  They are definitely bulky, but I kind of love that.   It makes carrying her on my arm more stable (supported of course!) if that makes sense.  I also think aside from a few issues with my learning curve, they are ridiculously easy and not really any different than a disposable during changes, especially since I stuff all the pockets after the laundry is finished.

I did decide I could probably get away with 2 more, since I don't really use the Econobums and I try to change her frequently because of the rash we had.  I can barely get 48hours before needing to wash, so I ordered 2 Fuzzibunz the other night to try.  These are just as popular as BumGenius so I'm sort of excited to compare them.

For the cloth diapering momma's, which brand and style is your favorite?  Any tips you learned while starting out??


  1. Great post! I have cloth diapered my baby for almost two years and my only recommendation would be to do a hot rinse after your detergent cycle....the only thing that gets the soap all the way out (and may help with your babies rash!) I had build up on my diapers and seriously did several hot rinses with no detergent to rid them of all the yuckies! Good luck :)

  2. I love BG Elementals for their ease. Drying really hasn't been too much of an issue. Before it was hot summertime, I could get away with 80-90 minutes in the dryer. Now that I stick them outside for most of their dry time, I just toss them in for 20 minutes to soften them up.

    We use 4.0s for night time, though, and stuff with the regular insert and a baby kicks hemp. I like them, I just like not having to stuff diapers more.

    Are you using cloth wipes yet? That was the first thing I switched over to after a couple of weeks worth of cloth dipe use. My sis-in-law sent me a bunch of wash cloths, and I didn't need more, so I decided to try them out as wipes. I use a spray bottle to wet either his bottom or the wipe and then the wipe can be tossed in the wet bag with the diaper. I like this better than having to separate diaper from wipe.

    For our wash, I use a heavy duty setting - cold prewash, hot wash, cold rinse, extra rinse, extra spin. I've not had any staining on the 4.0s, and some on the Elementals. But, like you said, once I lay them out in the sun, ALL stains are gone. It's sooo cool. You may also want to try using 1/4c bleach once a month, which is what I believe BG recommends. BioKleen Bac Out is good too - smells great.

    1. I just ordered some hemp inserts, kinda excited to try them (I'm so lame, that's what excites me these days!).

      I have been considering switching to cloth wipes, I just figured I'd wait until I ran out of throwaways. I definitely agree it'd be much easier to throw them in the bag and wash all together. I heard of Bac Out during some google searches. Maybe I'll pick some up when I use up the oxyclean!

    2. Great post! I've heard that cloth wipes are much better for preventing and dealing with diaper rash, so perhaps when you switch the rash situation will improve. Keep us updated! :)

  3. Thanks for the post. I'm 14 weeks pregnant and have been doing tons of research and was thinking the BG AIO were the def choice but I think I'll throw in some pockets to compare. Thanks.

    1. Congrats!! I originally was planning on getting only AIOs when I learned about cloth diapers from YoungHouseLove. After reading more I saw some of the benefits of the pockets so I figured I'd try both. The pockets were cheaper and I found more deals on them, so I'd just grab them when I could. No other real reason for the decision, though I do feel like pockets do a better job wicking away moisture.

  4. Love this update!! Thank you so much Erinn for posting it! looking forward to more!!

    1. Thanks Ashley! I'll definitely try to keep up with how it's working out!

  5. yay for CDs! As you already know, I love love my BG pockets. I swoon for them. And I use OxyClean -- but I use the Oxy baby soak (which says on it it's CD safe but who knows) and I only use it sometimes. Line drying has been my favorite though. Thank goodness for sunny days!

    1. thank you, thank you, thank you, for all your infinite wisdom, advice, and acceptance of picture messages containing poop stained diapers. seriously.

  6. I found your blog after searching for some resources for cloth diapering. Thank you for your information, your pictures and your wisdom (no matter how fresh!!). I originally though AIO's would be easiest, but it seems pockets may be the better choice and I should get both for sure. I do have a potentially stupid question though, if you have different types of pocket diapers/inserts and you wash them all together, how do you know which goes with which? Is it pretty obvious that insert A goes into diaper A, or does it even matter?
    I tell you what, these little things are what stress me out and keep me up at night! Ha!

    Thanks again for your information, and for pictures of your darling fluffy butt girl!!

    1. AIOs probably are easiest, but I really do like the pockets if not for anything but easily adjusting the absorbency by adding extra inserts and ability to wick away moisture from her behind better.

      I wash everything together. I'm sure you could mix and match inserts without any issues aside from maybe the potential for leaks if the insert is too narrow for the pocket (ie BumGenius inserts are probably an inch wider than Fuzzibunz), but I'm too OCD so I always match them. So far everything is easily matchable, BG say BG on them, so do the BlueBerry and FB. I think my Happy Heinys are the only "plain" ones but it's easy to figure out since they are plain and all the same size. The Kawaii one is plain but very large and thick. After a wash or two you'll know who belongs to who, or you could mark them with a sharpie.

      Glad you stopped by and found the post helpful, even if I'm still feeling my way through it all too!


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