adventures in cloth diapering: 2nd edition

The last time we left off, we had just started using our bumGenius newborn cloth diapers.  At the time, MacKenna was only about 6 weeks old and looked like this:

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Now, she’s almost 6 months old and we have been using our “big girl” diapers for close to 3 months now.  We finally were able to transition over to our full time cloth diapers (the ones she will use until she is potty trained) back in January when she was a little over 3 months old.  I loved the newborn diapers, but I must say that I love these even more.

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When researching cloth diapers during pregnancy, I wanted something that was going to make my life easy.  (Story of my life, by the way.  The easier, the better.)  It was going to be a big enough pain in the butt to actually have to wash the diapers that I didn’t want to make it even more difficult by having to stuff liners into the diapers.  Therefore, I decided to go with the bumGenius Elemental All-In-Ones.

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These diapers snap in the front and don’t involve any stuffing.  The liner is attached to the inside of the diaper (all in one piece), meaning I throw it into the wash, dry them, and then they’re ready to wear.  While I haven’t used the other cloth diapers, I think they definitely have made my life much easier.  On the down side, they are much more expensive than diapers with separate liners and take a little longer to dry since they are extremely thick.  However, I think the ease of use is worth the extra money.

We have 20 Elementals and that seems to be the perfect amount right now.  They are much more absorbent than the newborn diapers, so we don’t go through nearly as many in one day.  We wash them every other day and have only run out once or twice because we forgot to put them in the dryer.  (The downside to cloth – and having the washer + dryer in the basement.)

On our trip to Branson, we chose to put her in disposables just because it was more convenient and we didn’t have access to a washer + dryer.  And let me tell you, cloth diapers have WAY less blow outs than disposables.  We maybe have one blow out or leak a week with the cloth diapers.  However, with the disposables, we had at least 3 in 2 days.  (And of course, I didn’t pack enough clothes for M to wear, so she was in sleepers in 80+ degree weather.  Oops.)  Cloth diapers also don’t stink nearly as bad as disposables either, which is always a great thing.

We are still battling some diaper rash + chafing that I’ve mentioned in the past.  Because the cloth diapers don’t pull away as much moisture as disposables, MacKenna’s booty stays damp and her poor sensitive skin just can’t take it.  If I change her every 2 hours and slather her up good with (cloth-friendly) diaper rash cream, we don’t have nearly as much redness.  We use California Baby diaper rash cream + diaper area wash (a calming spray) and they seem to work really well.  After I change her diaper, I spray the calming spray, pat her dry with a dry washcloth, and rub some diaper rash cream all over.  I haven’t quite figured out how to get rid of the chafing though.  The cloth rubs her inner thighs just right that they get really red and dry.  I guess it’s just something we’ll have to live with.

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The other thing we’ve changed since switching to the big girl diapers was transitioning to cloth wipes.  When we were using the newborn diapers, I was using disposable wipes, which I was not a fan of because I couldn’t just throw the diaper + wipes in the same place.  I am now loving the cloth wipes!  We have 36 cloth wipes that we keep in a Prince Lionheart wipe warmer so they stay moist (I get them damp with just plain water first and then put them in the wipe warmer).  It’s a little bit of work having to fold them after they come out of the wash (we fold them so when we pull one out, the next one pulls out enough so it’s ready to use for the next change), but it’s nice being able to throw everything into one place.  I definitely recommend cloth wipes if you are using cloth diapers!

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I think we finally have our laundry routine figured out as well.  We own an HE washer that doesn’t work quite as well as a top-loading washer for cloth diapers, but it gets the job done.  After we put the diapers + wipes in the machine, we set it to heavy soil with a presoak and on cold/cold (this is supposed to help get the stains out) with about 1 tablespoon of detergent.  Once this cycle is done, we do a second cycle on light soil with an extra rinse and on hot/cold (we don’t have the option of a hot rinse, unfortunately), again with about a tablespoon of detergent (we use Seventh Generation Free + Clear) and now we are adding 1/4 cup of vinegar to help get out some of the stink (we put it in the fabric softener dispenser on the machine).  This seems to be working really well, although we do have stains (I don’t think I washed them enough initially) and they start to stink after a few weeks.  Hopefully, the extra vinegar will help get rid of some of the stink, but we’ll have to live with the stains, unfortunately.

And yes, MacKenna goes to the babysitter’s wearing cloth diapers.  We stock up her diaper bag with about 5 for the day along with a smaller wet bag.  The sitter just puts the diapers in the wet bag and sends them home with us.  We do all the laundry and send her clean ones every day.  I’m not sure how Stacy likes them, but she hasn’t complained (to us, at least) yet.  We do use disposable wipes at the sitter’s because it is definitely more convenient for her to use.  But, we bought a super pack at Costco of about 1500 wipes and have yet to even finish even 500 of them since January. 

Overall, I’m extremely happy with our decision to use cloth diapers.  I love that I’m not throwing out a bunch of diapers every day and adding to the landfills.  Yes, we still occasionally use disposables when it’s more convenient than cloth, but it is cloth 98% of the time.  I know it’s definitely not for everyone, but I think if you are willing to do the extra work of washing them, it’s not nearly as hard as you might think.

Do you use cloth diapers?  What kind do you use, if you do?  If you have any other questions regarding cloth diapering, let me know!  I’d be more than happy to help you out in any way!

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  • http://carmanclan.wordpress.com Meghan

    We just started our cloth this past weekend when TJ was just shy of 6 weeks. We use All in One Pocket Diapers (he is a big boy in 3-6 month clothes already). We have 24 total, mostly Fuzzi Bunz and a few Bum Genius and Tiny Tush. So far my favorites are Fuzzi Bunz since you can adjust the leg elastic and they fit him much better right now, plus my Bum Genius stained already. We have been using cloth wipes since day one and just keep a spray bottle next to the changing pad. I didn’t realize their was a rash cream you could use, the diapers all say not too, but TJ has what think is a rash in his crack.

    • Kristen

      The California Babies works pretty well. It’s not water resistant like normal rash creams so it’s safe to use with cloth diapers. M has it really bad all over her bum and up the front of her tummy. She just has really sensitive skin.

  • Amanda

    I don’t have a HE machine, but I pour vinegar into a cold rinse first (once they’re eating food, I don’t need to for breastmilk only), hot wash with detergent, cold rinse and I don’t have a problem with smells. Stains can be helped by drying them in the sun, but I don’t get that done very often.

    • Kristen

      Thanks! I tried that this past weekend and it seemed to work well!

  • Wendy

    I cloth diapered both of my babies (my youngest is already 5, sniff..), and loved it! For the stains, try drying them in the sun, like the previous poster said. It helps some with stink too.

    • Kristen

      We are definitely going to try drying them in the sun! I hope it helps!

  • http://www.runnerstrials.com Jen

    I’m so glad they’re working for you! M looks so cute in them!

    Unfortunately, we have the same diapers and they are not working for W at all. We’ve been trying them once a week for 2+ months now to see if they’ll work better and they don’t. The minute he falls asleep on his tummy, they leak. I guess that’s relatively common w/ boy stomach sleepers? It also might be b/c we’re not supposed to snap them real tight around his tummy b/c of the reflux. We don’t have any leaking issues w/ disposables. I refuse to give up YET. Though I am glad I only washed a few to begin with. I have 12 unopened ones that I fear we may have to sell :(
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    • http://www.bundlesofhugs.com Heidi from BundlesOfHugs

      First I would try adjusting the size. My son leaked too and when we went up a size (yes up a size believe it or not) the leaking stop. Or you may need to go down a size. Or they are buttoned too loose or too tight. I prefer the BumGenius 4.0 snap that you stuff because you can adjust the thin/thickness to what you want.
      Heidi from BundlesOfHugs recently posted..My New Favorite Cookie Recipe

    • Kristen

      The only place M leaks is up the top in front – usually “big” potty though and only when she’s been sitting a long time. We definitely have to snap them pretty tight on her, so I can understand why W would leak. I hope you can get them to work for you!

  • Christie

    In cloth diapering! My baby is 9 weeks old and we’ve been doing it for 3 weeks. I signed up for a cloth diaper trial to see what I liked. For the money, I’ve decided to use kissaluvs with a cover until she gets a bit bigger for her one size diapers. I’m going to venture into cloth wipes today!

    • Kristen

      Hope you like the cloth wipes! I love them since we switched!

  • http://journeytothecenterofmanhattan.blogspot.com Emily

    I don’t know if it is the same chafing since I don’t have babies, but when I run, I swear by A+D diaper rash ointment. It might help with the chafing – I can go for 20 miles in ridiculous heat and not chafe with that stuff. It’s a miracle. It (or Aquaphor) also might help with the diaper rash – I have crazy sensitive skin and use it for just about everything and both of them work so well.
    Emily recently posted..Words to Sweat By™ giveaway!

    • Kristen

      Thanks for the suggestions. The problem with cloth diapers is that you have to use cream that won’t ruin the diapers, so normal diaper rash cream (like A&D) won’t work. I am going to look into Aquafor tho!

  • http://www.bundlesofhugs.com Heidi from BundlesOfHugs

    I just wanted to mention that I’ve had my 19 month old son in cloth diapers since he was two months old. Pretty exclusively. We rarely use disposables. I also use BumGenius but the snap 4.0 that you have to stuff. What I learned with cloth diapers early on was to use the BumGenius detergent (I get mine from CottonBabies). When I used the regular stuff the smell didn’t always come out. Now, I have no problems. And, because of this I also don’t have any diaper rash problems. I wash mine on cold and then hot just like you and I don’t have any problems. As she gets older the diapers may stain but just lay them in the sun and they will magically disappear. YAY for cloth diapers, baby number 2 on the way and I’m all for cloth diapers.
    Heidi from BundlesOfHugs recently posted..My New Favorite Cookie Recipe

    • Kristen

      We were avoiding using the bumGenius detergent because it’s just so darn expensive, but we figured we use so little of it that it would last us a long time. I am definitely going to stop by the store and pick some up! You have us convinced!

  • ErikaMC

    We use cloth diapers too. We have the GroVia AIOs and I really like them. We have some stains too but I have read that if you lay them out in the sun the stains will go away – I haven’t tried that yet though. I have read that baking soda in the bath water will help with diaper rash so you might want to look into that.

    • Kristen

      I will definitely look into baking soda in the bath! She has such sensitive skin, so hopefully that would help with her eczema as well!

  • Hilary

    We use prefolds and a cover (Bummis brand is my fav). My husband and I both prefer the prefolds to the stuff-able kind, but I can see it would be harder to use them at daycare. I like that they are less expensive and you can use the same cover for a few days if it doesn’t get poo on it. Also, we change him really often (like every tinkle) so it’s easy to do that with the prefolds since we have two dozen of most sizes at this point. We do use bum genius at night though, since it keeps him feeling dryer than the prefolds and absorbs more.

    We use Charlie’s Soap and really like it. The diapers smell clean when they are dry, but when they are wet, the smell so strongly of ammonia. Nothing I do seems to help, so I just live with it.

    We never had diaper rash problems and he only occasionally gets a chaff issue. I just think every kid is different.

    • Kristen

      Oh man, I’m way to lazy to use the prefolds! Ha! And I don’t think my babysitter would be willing to do them, since the ones we have now are basically like disposables.

  • jill

    hi there! We use the inserts with thirsties & bum genius covers now. Love them for the environmental factors, less blow outs, money saved etc but do NOT love the bulkiness of them. I worry all the time about how they will affect my little guy’s ability to walk & crawl ir if there is any chance they could hurt his leg growth! Will probably be making the switch to all in ones soon..do you find yours to be especially bulky?
    Also, have you tried Aquafor on your daughter for her duiaoer rash/irritation? I was using the CA baby rash cream as well until a friend told me about using Aquafor for babies!!! It’s amazing, super fast acting stuff! It also works wonders for baby’s super dry skin (which my guy also has)! They make it in a baby formula but I’m thinking it might just be a marketing/packaging thing becuase the original is just as great!

    • Kristen

      Yes, they are extremely bulky – I think that’s part of the reason she has so much chafing. Her fat little legs just rub against them so much. I do worry if it effects her development, but she seems ready as ever to crawl, so I think it’ll be just fine.

      Is Aquafor safe for cloth diapers? I will definitely look into it!

  • http://yearsofjubilee.wordpress.com Amy

    Thanks for posting this! We are going to be trying BumGenius (though we got mostly ones with inserts — hope they don’t wind up being a hassle!) and I’ve been trying to figure out how much/often to wash them to get them ready. I don’t think we’ll start until baby is big enough to fit into them (maybe 10-12 weeks or s0). I really admire your commitment to cloth considering you are working full time! That’s awesome. :-)
    Amy recently posted..happiness 101: meaningful work

    • Kristen

      MacKenna didn’t fit into the newborns until she was 6 weeks. It depends on how big your baby is also. I think if you’re willing to stuff the inserts, they’re great! I’m just lazy! ;)

  • Jen

    I don’t know much at all about diapering (no kiddos), but it definitely sounds like you are making good choices for your precious little girl! Really, I just wanted to wish you and your beautiful family a very Happy Easter!!!

  • http://www.sideofsneakers.com heather

    We put ours in the sun when they’re stained and it almost always works!

  • http://www.iamtotallythatmom.blogspot.com Jamie @ I am totally *that* mom

    Yes! Sunning helps so much with staining.

    We used BumGenius one size pockets because I didn’t want the increased dry time for the sake of reducing our carbon foot print. But stuffing was definitely a pain at times!

    We also used Thirsties covers and Kissaluvs fitted up until 4-5 months. And well, with my first, we tried everything under the sun so I have a long list of others but these are what I would do again if we ever have a 3rd! :)
    Jamie @ I am totally *that* mom recently posted..The Things People Say…

    • Kristen

      We actually only dry ours once – it gets the job done for the most part. We’ll be sunning them much more now that it’s warmer.

  • http://www.kimbrookins.blogspot.com kim @ vegan mama

    I’m late to this thread, but we had some thigh chaffing going on – I tried a few different cloth-diaper-friendly creams, but in the end, I had to strip the diapers and it cleared right up. I think I was using too much detergent in the beginning, so it took several rinse cycles to peel back the layers of build up. Hopefully you’re not still experiencing that issue, but if you are, give stripping a try!

    • Kristen

      We did strip them after that post and that helped a lot. MacKenna’s very sensitive to the cloth diapers – after a month of using disposables because of traveling, she had NO diaper rash, but as soon as we got back to the cloth diapers, she had diaper rash again. I was reading some things on stripping them today and some people regularly add Dawn to their wash cycle. I might try that just to see how it works because I hate having to go through the whole stripping process once a month – it’s just a pain!

      • http://www.kimbrookins.blogspot.com kim @ vegan mama

        Yeah, it is a huge pain! I’ve heard about Dawn too – I’d love to hear if t works for you.

  • Monica

    I have these exact diapers I use on my 7 week old daughter and we have been battling diaper rash. I used California Baby diaper cream as recommended by many people and the diapers immediately leaked out everywhere! I thought it was cloth safe, should I have been using a liner to protect my diapers?