Saturday, June 28, 2008

Greening Mommyhood - Part 3

(If you're just joining us, see Part 1 here and Part 2 here)

Okay, time to finally review all the stuff I've gotten, now that I've actually TRIED them all!

After 4 pre-hot-washes and dryer loads I got impatient and wanted to try out my cloth diapers. I know the Chinese unbleached pre-folds need to be washed 7-10 times to reach maximum absorbancy, but they still seemed pretty absorbent, soft, and fluffy! I figure I'm going to have to wash them a zillion times going forward so they'd get all their washes in. I know, I know, I'm bad at following directions.

So here is how I went about my cloth diapering experimentation, in order of appearance, with my thoughts!

COMBINATION 1: "BUMMIS WRAP + PREMIUM UNBLEACHED CHINESE PREFOLDS"

There was not much for instructions with this kit as far as how to actually fold and fit the huge cloth diapers into the wrap. The Bummis wrap had a little illustration here below...they just say
"simply fold the diaper and place it inside the diaper cover."



Granted, when you've never even seen someone do this before, nothing really seems that "simple." But, the illustration shows a cloth diaper just folded lengthwise into thirds (above). Okay, this baby looks happy...so I tried that and here's what I got:



Then I read how to prevent leakage, you have to make sure the whole diaper is covered by the outer diaper cover. Hmm... how do I do that with this huge diaper? Yeah, I know, I'm a totally clueless beginner. So, I went to Bummis website and found a nice page that shows HOW to fold the cloth diapers. Oooh, okay, now I got it. Here is their "boy fold:"

Sortof like you're folding a burrito that you want to leave open on one end. Just don't picture it as a burrito if your baby fills it with poop, or you will never want to eat burritos again. (Check out the link to see the "girl fold" and "liquid poo" folds!) So, once I got that whole "step 1" added in there, I could get it to the size of the diaper wrap and fit it all in. I tried putting on the Snappi with the first one, just to see how it worked. Then I promptly took it off...it isn't really necessary because the wrap holds the diaper on just fine. And, I thought if I could avoid putting something with sharp teeth in my baby's diaper, great. Here is my little man sporting his first cloth diaper, inside the wrap (frog print):


It sure did seem to be huge and bulky...I could barely fit his shorts back on over it, and forget about snapping the onesie back on. It looked like he had a basketball in his pants. Poor guy...It seemed near impossible for him to bend at his middle without squishing his tummy. I wondered if he'd even be able to learn to sit when he can hardly bend. I realize I have gotten used to the thin disposables over the past 6 months. So, I may be overreacting. He's also on the lowest end of the weight range for this size wrap, so it may fit better as he grows. For now, I think I'll use this combination at bedtime when he doesn't need to bend at his middle!

In the spirit of making cloth diapers work for us, I just got out his next size up of onesies (from 6 month to 9 month), and they fit over the Bummis just fine. The first cloth diaper I tried was one of the unbleached Chinese pre-folds. It seemed to hold the pee just fine! I used my home made cloth wipes (old security blankets cut into squares & zig-zag stitched around the edges) with a peri bottle of water to wet them, as suggested by some moms on another message board I visited:

This worked out much easier than I had pictured it...no problem. I may try storing some already wet down the road too just to see if it's that much more convenient. But doing cloth wipes makes sense when doing cloth diapers...you're already used to tossing them in the pail with the dirty diapers.

COMBINATION 2: "BUMMIS WRAP + GERBER BIRDSEYE PREFOLDS"

Next diaper change I filled the Bummis wrap with one of the Gerber cloth diapers that I already poorly reviewed in "part 2". That one got completely soaked through in a couple hours and I had to put the wrap in the bin to be washed as well. It was slimmer, but definitely not as absorbant. I think it'll be worth spending the 50 cents more per diaper for the other premium ones! I'd like to find a happy medium though, some better quality but slimmer.

COMBINATION 3: "THIRSTIES FAB FITTED + BUMMIS WRAP"

Bedtime came, and I had been saving the Thirsties Fab Fitted for bed (above). Oooh, so soft... I put on the Thirsties and covered it with another Bummis wrap, and put him to bed around 8:00 as usual. About 12:00 am he was awake...the wrap was still keeping him dry and leak-free, but the entire Thirsties was soaked through. This is probably not too bad for 4 hours, which is when he should probably be changed anyway, but he usually makes it until much later. No leaks, so no complaints. Normally he'd be awake to eat and be changed at 3 or 4 am, but I'm guessing that with the cloth, he could feel the wetness sooner. So, we re-stuffed the Bummis wrap with the first one again, an unbleached Chinese pre-fold, which lasted him until morning just fine. I thought the fitted diaper was pretty cool though...no folding to do and it seemed much less bulky between his legs. Not to mention how soft, did I mention that yet? And, very easy to put on with velcro just like a disposable. Definitely would be Daddy and babysitter-friendly.

So far, no leakage with anything yet in my first "starter kit" shipment!

COMBINATION 4: "g DIAPERS + PREFOLDS"

After much run-around from FedEx, my g Diapers shipment finally arrived! First impression: How cool! The packaging and branding was great, which I appreciate as a designer.


The wraps were so nice and light, and the inner snap-in liner is pretty cool. It's kindof like the old rubber pants, but just inside the diaper instead of outside.

This kit came with the disposable liners that are part of the g Diaper "system," and you have to tear off the sides, drop the absorbent stuff in the toilet, swish it around until it breaks apart with the little swisher stick they give you, then flush. (see their site for videos) I tried it once since the kit comes with 10 liners, and that was pretty slick. If you are really looking for the convenience of disposables without the environmentally un-friendliness of them, this is SO the way to go!!! Plus, as I'm finding, with all the pre-washing, and the instructions to do a cold wash, then hot wash, then additional rinse every time you wash cloth diapers, while they may be friendlier for the landfills, cloth still uses a lot of water and energy. And you can't just toss 'em in with your regular laundry...they need special detergent and 1/2 the normal amount. But, if you are cheap like me and don't want to have to keep buying liners, try this with cloth instead. This was what a friend of mine has been doing for months so that's where I got the idea. (They never mention anywhere on their website the option of stuffing these with cloth.)



First I tried out the cheap-o Gerber Birdseye Prefolds with these (above). I did my little open burrito "boy fold" and stuffed it in the plastic liner. The design of the wraps on these goes against what you are used to...the flaps are on the front and are pulled around to the back, which is opposite from disposables and pretty much any other wrap I've seen. (Just remember the little "g" goes on the butt!)

Now this experiment made me think the thin, cheap ones aren't quite SO bad. If I could get these in better quality fabric & stitching, and can just change a little more often, this may be my favorite so far. While the cheap cloth diapers got soaked through sooner, the cute outer wrap never got a drop of anything on it. I've been using them for 2 days without having to wash the wraps yet. That plastic liner keeps all the wet stuff away from the wrap just beautifully, even overnight. And these wraps are so thin & stretchy, my little guy can finally bend at the hips again. Here he is, looking so thrilled that he can finally move again:



The plastic liner also holds the cloth diaper in there well, so you can "pre-stuff" the wraps and always have one ready. You can pick up the whole thing as one without having to put on one layer and then the other. My husband even put one of these on successfully (after I pre-stuffed and left it for him) while I was getting a haircut yesterday, no problem! One of the thicker, nicer, Premium Chinese Prefold lasted him from 8 pm until 4:30 am last night before he woke up with the first poopy cloth diaper! Luckily it wasn't too liquid-y...I have yet to experience a really messy, juicy poop cloth diaper... But, I think I will purchase another one of these kits so I can put a wrap in each diaper bag as well. It's cheaper to get the whole kit than to just buy two more wraps. (The only downside is you can't pick another color)

MORE TO COME...


Next up, I will be trying out a few more options out there. I am going to order a couple of the inserts they sell for pocket diapers (above left) to try out in the g Diapers, as well as some contour cloth diapers (above center), to see if I can get them even simpler and thinner with no folding. But, the g Diaper "pant" or "cover" is by far my favorite. I will keep the Bummis around for overnight and for covering non-waterproof fitted diapers as they still are a good solution as well.

I also just might invest in a diaper sprayer (above right), as they have so many good reviews online, and whatever will help get the poop in the toliet and not on me sounds great!

My investment so far:
- CottonBabies "Try-It Kit" (6 cloth diapers, 1 snappi & 2 Bummis wraps) $30 + shipping
- Thirsties Fab Fitted (1) $14.00 + shipping (ordered with above)
- Gerber Birdseye Prefolds (12) from my local Babies-r-us $12.99
- g Diapers Starter Kit (2 pants/wraps, 10 refills, 2 extra liners, swish stick) $26.99 + shipping
TOTAL: $83.98 (plus shipping)

Overall impression of cloth diapering so far:
- Not as hard as I thought! Cloth diapers have come SO far since I was wearing them.
- The more you're willing to invest, the easier you can make it. Of course there's a balance to strike there if you are doing cloth to save money.
- It's more wasteful of water & energy to wash than I thought it would be. But, like I said, g Diapers are the solution to that! Otherwise, having more around and doing loads less often can help too.
- They are not messy and leak-y like I thought they would be. I still have yet to experience one leak.
- It felt really good to replace the disposables in my diaper bag with cloth...like I was finally free from the expense and not adding more crap (pun intended) to the landfills.
- My baby's bum looks so cute in them!
- I have a super sensitive nose, and it does not stink up your house...I think it is actually less stinky than keeping disposables full of poop in my Diaper Genie II.
- All babies are different, and the best way to do it is to try a few options like I did.
- g Diapers + cloth is the best combination, at least for my baby!

5 comments:

joselyn said...

Nice, thorough review! I went CD's w/ my fourth baby last year, and have found them to have far fewer leaks & rashes, and really not much trouble. I'd say it takes me 10 minutes every other day to wash and put them away (mostly pushing buttons). Love them!

I've been greening in the last year, too, and was just thinking yesterday of its effects on my diaper bag. There's almost nothing disposable left in our mommy life. :)

Kristine said...

Well reviewed.

As for all the extra washing recommended for the cloth diapers...I gave up on that a long time ago. They get a cold wash and then into the dryer. I use whatever detergent I have on hand, but only a little bit. If I'm feeling fancy, they get a cold wash, then a hot wash, and then the dryer, and I use the Eucalan I keep around for wool washing. I've been doing that for four months and have noticed absolutely no decrease in absorbency in my BumGenius pocket diapers.

Not so fancy after all. :)

Kim said...

I have found that greenmountaindiapers.com is a very informative site. They have great tips for night diapering and have instructional pictures (on real babies) for getting the right fit. They also have a great selection. I have found their Prefolds to be the best so far as they have sizing to fit every baby.

Ericka said...

I noticed you received the blue stitched chinese prefolds, which are the medium size. If you need them for a smaller baby you should get the one with the green stitch.

I bought a pack of those Gerbers too at first and they became my burp cloths and work great. Mine haven't come apart yet in two months though.

My favorite all-in-ones are the Fuzzi Buns so far.

Julie said...

By the way, g diapers DOES mention using cloth on their site - it's in the FAQs where someone asks about this - I absolutely love getting all this information, as I am going through this same tedious hours-long research process, so I can't thank you enough for documenting your journey! Julie

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