Friday, January 8, 2010

What's in a diaper?

***Back by popular demand with new and improved information!***
Original post was published May 2009
The choices for cloth diapers are endless...
One Size
Sized & Fitted
AIO (All In One)
Prefolds & Covers

I would recommend "testing" a few out before you buy a bundle. See if you can borrow from a friend or relative or you may be able to find a great deal on

It's just a good idea to see what works best for you and baby. Some babies have sensitive skin and the microfleece used with pocket diapers is far too harsh for them, for others it's a perfect match.
Why did you choose cloth diapers?
I got my start with cloth diapers when Raegen had just turned one year. My sister had been using cloth diapers for a few months and was unhappy with Fuzzi Bunz. Her son has sensitive skin and the synthetic fabric was too harsh for him. She planned on selling them at a children's consignment sale so I decided to give them a try and see how Raegen AND MYSELF! did with them. My sister moved on to Chinese prefold diapers and covers {and she LOVES them} and Raegen had great success with Fuzzi Bunz.
What are pocket diapers?
A pocket diaper is a diaper cover that has an opening for an insert or folded Chinese prefold diaper to be placed into the opening. The following is a picture of inserts.

Photo courtesy of New & Green Baby Co.

They come in different sizes to correspond to different size diapers. Typically one insert is used during the day and a "doubler" or two inserts are used at nighttime to contain heavy wetting.

Pocket diapers come in sizes S, M, and L. I felt this would help reduce the "bulk" that is common with AIO diapers, but give me the convenience. Pockets dry faster because the insert is removable for washing and drying.

After testing the diapers on Raegen and reading several reviews, I chose to go with "Fuzzi Bunz" diapers. They are very easy to use, two snaps on each side similar to disposable tabs. "Fuzzi Bunz Diapers consist of a breathable waterproof outer layer, a microfleece inner layer, and an absorbent removable insert. The micorfleece inner layer wicks moisture away, keeping your baby dry, rash free, and comfortable." from: I have found that to all be true. :)

I also bought two "Happy Heiny's" with velcro tabs to use at church and with sitters. Though few people have had problems with the snap tabs.
Where did you purchase Raegen's diapers?
I purchased all of Raegen's diapers through I compared prices on several websites and felt they had the best prices (shipping paid!) and warranty. I bought 12 new from Nurtured Family and found others through consignment sales and my sister! I have approximately 25 size M (15-30lbs) diapers.
{I used cloth from approximately 12 months old through completion of potty training. I used the cloth diapers in place of training pants by simply removing the insert. Potty training is now a success story and not once did I have to use disposable training pants. Talk about double duty!!}
I did have a couple snaps that didn't want to snap, but replacing them was easy. I simply called Nurtured Family and they had me mail the faulty diapers, along with a copy of my receipt, and they gladly exchanged the diapers for me.
How do you clean Fuzzi Bunz diapers?
If the diapers are soiled, I dump as much as I can into the toilet.
{I would like to mention that NO waste is meant to be thrown in the trash, whether from a cloth diaper or disposable. In fact, disposable diaper packaging instructs parents to dump solid waste into the toilet and flush it away. When those instructions are not followed, human fecal matter is going into our landfills where it can leach into groundwater and possibly spread disease. Cloth diapers release solid waste where it belongs - into the sewage system where it is treated with other household waste water.}
There are also toilet sprays available to aid in the removal of waste from diapers.

I have two small step-cans in the laundry room, one for diapers and the other for cloth wipes (yes, I use those too!). The Fuzzi Bunz are NOT cotton and therefore can not be washed with cotton (such as the cloth wipes), they should only be washed with other Fuzzi Bunz or similar diapers.

When it is time to wash (usually every other day), I do the following:
1. Rinse in cold water (set washer to LARGE load setting)
2. Run a hot wash/cold rinse and use minimal detergent
3. Run an extra rinse at the end
The rinses help to remove the waste as well as the detergent which can build up over time. It's a good idea to use the same detergent for all your laundry because it will build up on the inside of your washer as well. Buy a good detergent that has no perfumes, no dyes, no softeners, etc. I use
Allen's Naturally detergent for all of our clothes, it is CONCENTRATED which means "a DASH will do ya." In this instance, less is best!
here for a good chart on various detergents.
What is stripping?
Build-up from detergents will occur over time so it is NECESSARY to strip diapers once a month (I strip mine on the first of the month so it's easy to remember). The build-up can cause your diapers to have an unpleasant odor, decrease absorbency and cause leaking.

When it's time to strip, I do the following:
1. Rinse in cold water (set washer to LARGE load setting) to remove soil
2. Wash in HOT water, THREE times
Notice I did NOT add detergent. The point of stripping is to remove all the built-up detergent so there is no need to add extra. There are various ways to strip diapers, but this works best for me.
What are prefold diapers?
I have only experienced prefold diapers and covers with my sister’s children, but I plan to use prefold diapers and covers for our new baby boy.
Chinese vs. Indian
Prefold diapers are available as Chinese or Indian prefolds. Chinese prefolds are known for their durability and my sister has had great success with them. Indian prefolds are known for having a soft hand.
Bleached vs. Unbleached
Bleached diapers are bright white and unbleached are the natural color of cotton.
Prefold diapers are available in the following sizes:
If the diaper is too big you will have problems with leaking. My sister used the preemie size on her son for 3-4 months, despite the sizing recommendations found online that claim the preemie size is only good for 4-9lbs. She HIGHLY recommends buying the preemie size for newborn through 4 months. You will regret it if you try to save money and put an infant size diaper on a newborn!
In fact, her son that is now 2 ½ never wore anything larger than a standard size diaper!
How many?
Three dozen diapers will allow you to wash every other day and still have a small stash in the car, diaper bag, etc.
You can read more about prefolds on the Wee Bunz site, here.
What are covers?
Covers are placed on top of prefold diapers to prevent leaks. There are numerous types and brands available. Of all the brands she has tried, my sister prefers Bumkins.
“Bumkins covers work great over a prefold, fitted, or contoured diaper. Velcro closures give you a fast, snug fit that holds a diaper in place without the use of pins. Super-trim fabric, similar to that of a wind-breaker, never wicks. Unique vent in the back allows better air circulation to your baby's skin. These wash up so easily and hang dry so quickly, that you will only need 4-6 of them. Thus, Bumkins covers over prefold diapers are one of the most economical diapering systems you can find.” From:
She did caution to make sure the flap for the vent in the back is down. If not, it is possible for the diaper to leak. Also, make sure you go up a size when baby grows because wearing a cover that is too small will also cause leaking.
How many?
Three covers is plenty for each stage. When baby is dirty, you simply change the prefold only {unless the cover is soiled as well}. With pocket diapers, you have to change the entire diaper which equals a lot more washing and drying.
The most economical way to purchase prefold diapers and covers is as a package. On the Wee Bunz website, you can order prefold diapers and covers in various sizes in any of their package deals. My sister has found their prices to be the best available.
What are wool covers?
Wool covers are commonly used for nighttime use with prefold diapers. Wool is very absorbent and breathable, making it a great choice to be used at nighttime or naptime when baby will be wet for an extended time.
here to read Why Use Wool for Diaper Covers? And click here to read Cloth Diapers: Lanolizing Wool Covers.
How do you clean prefold diapers and covers?
These are my sister’s instructions:
1. Rinse diapers, covers, and wipes on COLD
2. Add detergent {Allen’s or similar} and wash diapers, covers, and wipes on COLD
3. Remove covers from washer
4. Wash diapers and wipes on HOT
5. Dry diapers and wipes in dryer or on clothes line

The Bumkins covers will air dry in a matter of minutes.
Pros and Cons
{Please do not take this the wrong way, but to be completely honest, once you've put your child in cloth, there are NO positives to disposables}
- Easy to use, can be thrown away
Cons- Expensive, bad for environment, more diaper rash, chemical used to make the super-absorbency of disposable diapers is Sodium polyacrylate {which has been linked to TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) and can cause allergic reactions}, always buying diapers!! :)
- They’re adorable!! A baby's bum in a cloth diaper is like no other!, cheaper, can be used for subsequent children or sold second hand, less diaper rash, never have to put "diapers" on your shopping list!!, can double as "training pants" for potty training
Cons- Must wash, dry, fold, put away or you will have a NAKED baby! ;), can't just throw away a dirty diaper {Trust me, sometimes I wish I could!! I use a wet bag to hold all dirty diapers when I'm away from home and sometimes a plastic sack too!!}
What about diaper rash?
Most babies and children experience NONE or very few diaper rashes when in cloth diapers.
When Raegen was 16 months old he had a small rash that progressed into a yeast infection. We went to the doctor THREE times in TWO weeks and were prescribed THREE different ointments. Nothing was working and after pressure from the doctor and friends {"you're just going to have to break down and let that poor kid wear a disposable!"}, I bought some disposable diapers for Raegen. The reaction was instant! His rash spread from his private area all the way down to his knees. He looked terrible and was obviously having a NEGATIVE reaction to the disposables. I promised right then I would never put him in disposables again, and thankfully I have not had to go back on my word. As for the yeast infection, I visited our local health store and got some good advice on combatting a yeast infection {no white sugar, flour, or dairy...I even attached a sign to his diaper bag and shirt when I dropped him off at the church nusery; he doesn't go to daycare so that was the only place he was never directly under my me, this child was in PAIN and I would have gone to any length to ensure it ended} and I also picked up a bottle of "Jarro-Dohpilus". With the combination of the two, the yeast infection quickly went away. I still monitor his sugar intake and we have not had another episode.
Regardless if you choose synthetic or natural diapers, the key to having success with cloth diapers is to WASH, WASH, WASH!! It is an absolute must to wash AND dry your diapers REPEATEDLY to remove any natural or synthetic oils or buildup BEFORE the first use! The more you wash your diapers,
the more absorbent they will be.
What will your diaper stash
consist of for new baby Lynden?
3 dozen Chinese natural {not bleached!} preemie prefolds, 3 NB Bumkins covers
3 dozen Chinese natural {not bleached!} infant prefolds, 3 S Bumkins covers
After he has outgrown the infant prefold diapers, I will switch to the Fuzzi Bunz I used with Raegen. Those should, once again, last through potty training. For me, this is the most economical choice {not to mention, less laundering!}.
3 GroBaby Shell sets for nighttime
I received ONE free GroBaby through THIS giveaway. They are perfect for nighttime because the organic cotton soaker pad is SUPER absorbent. They have recently switched to GroVia and all the GroBaby merchandise is deeply discounted. They are similar to prefold and covers because if the cover is not soiled, you simply snap out the insert, replace with new, and go on your merry way. Otherwise, you replace the insert AND cover. Best of all, the prints are super cute!!
Did I leave anything out?
Because you asked...
Here are a few links from those that have made their own laundry soap:
Click here to read how the Domestic Diva Lindsey gets crafty.
And here to read how New Yorker Jacqualine does!
I buy my detergent from Nurtured Family and use Allen's Naturally Detergent - 5lb Powder {though there are others to choose from}. It is generally just under $20 a box and lasts a looooong time, approximately 8 months or so {$2.50/mo}!
Did I leave anything else out? ;)


sondra german said...

actually i don't think you've left anything out, but i don't even have kids, so what do i know?!

but i would like to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons of cloth diapers, or cloth vs disposable, if you will.

also, having already mentioned that i don't have kids, i'm not sure how "inserts" work. :/ but i can certainly look that one up on my own...

Lindsey Watson said...

have you thought about making your own detergent? it's hypoallergenic - free of scents and dyes. and it's super cheap!!!!!

The Stain Family said...

Hey lady Linds! Saw your recipe on your blog a few weeks/months? ago. I haven't tried that, but might some day. I spend just under $20 for a 5lb box of Allen's Naturally and it lasts 7-8 months. I've got 1 1/2 boxes now so I'm good for a year or so!! ha. Thanks though, I'll definitely keep that in mind when it's time to restock.

Angela Ibarra said...

I am now making our own laundry detergent, and I think it works great. Where do you get the big box of Allens?

Stephanie said...

Thats pretty awesome.

Jeff and Kibbie said...

LOL - this was timely ... I was just re reading the message your sister sent me in response to all my cloth diapering questions, and just sent her some more questions ... and right after that I saw your post!

Could you please post your friend Lindsey's detergent recipe - I would love to try making my own!

Jacqualine said...

Found your blog through PW...Yes, it was when you waited in line for hours to get your cook books signed! Anyway, I saw the questions on laundry detergent and thought I would mention that I have a detailed post on making your own laundry soap...Hope it's helpful!

Jesse and Laura Pounders said...

Thanks for the info! Very helpful!!

Jacqualine said...

Expecting baby #2 (baby #1 is almost 12) YIKES!!! Nothing like starting ALL OVER AGAIN :)

I was wondering if you ended up liking the prefolds with Bumkins covers? I have been given some prefolds & covers but will need to purchase more. I am not sure if I want to go with a pocket/aio or prefolds & covers. Does your husband do much of the diapering and which does he prefer? My sweet husband is all for using cloth {YEA} but I don't know if he would have trouble with the prefolds (large hand and tiny bums might = easier diapers).

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