Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cloth Diaper Confessions!!

Today I am discussing one of my favorite topics, were talking CLOTH DIAPERS people!
So I usually get one of three reactions when people find out that I used cloth diapers on both of my boys:
  • They think it's gross and old fashioned "Why would anyone do that when they don't have to anymore"?
  • That's awesome! "But I don't think I have the time for all of that".
I suspect there is a crowd of "in-betweeners" who just don't understand how cloth diapering is done nowadays. It's not as gross and outdated as it may seem, and it doesn't take much time at all. I'm pretty passionate about climate change and the effect that we leave on this planet. When I was pregnant with my first son, we made a conscious decision as a family to not only be mindful of the footprint we left, but also in the footprints started by our children. The choice to cloth diaper our children was more than just a parenting choice, it was a lifestyle choice. 
We agreed wholeheartedly that we wanted to model values of accountability. We strongly felt/feel there is a disconnect between people and what they use just as there is a strong disconnect between people and what they eat (we will save that conversation for another time). It was important to us as a family instead to teach our children to not only be "consumers", and to feel responsible for how much we use. For every action there is a reaction, we wanted to show them not only to be mindful of what you "take" but also to give back as much as you can. Within your life, your home, your community and local surroundings in order to be a part of the "solution" as opposed to just being a part of the "problem".

Time for some facts: Disposable diapers are the third largest consumer in landfills to date, and represent about 4% in solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of the household waste. I was disturbed to find out that diapers are dumped into landfills, covered and not exposed to sun or air at all, nobody knows how many hundreds—or even thousands—of years they could be around.

Without sun and air, even so-called “eco-friendly” diapers labeled biodegradable do NOT biodegrade in landfillsand cause just as much of a problem as regular diapers. It's estimated that every five minutes another 200,000 throw away will enter landfills in the United States alone where they will sit for at least 500 years before decomposing.

 That means long after you AND your children are long gone. That doesn't even include the wipes used!

This just breaks my NY heart! In 1991, an attempt towards recycling disposable diapers was made in the city of Seattle, involving 800 families, 30 day care centers, a hospital and a Seattle-based recycler for a period of one year. The conclusion made by Procter & Gamble was that recycling disposable diapers was not an economically feasible task on any scale.
You can check out more facts on the effects of disposable diapers on our environment here.

Now that we understand a bit about the effects disposables have in our landfills, lets talk health! It's no secret I go through great lengths to limit the amount of chemicals and toxins my family is exposed to. This is the reason I make all of my home cleaning products, laundry detergent, you name it! I'm either making it at home already or researching the recipe. Some of the chemicals listed as ingredients in disposable diapers are just downright scary, and to think were putting that on our baby's genitals!

Not So Fun Fact: Did you know that the instructions on any disposable diaper pack require that you dispose of any fecal matter (you know, poop!) in the toilet before disposing of the diaper itself? When you toss a disposable into the trash can, you are adding to the 84 million pounds of raw fecal matter going into the environment every year. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and The American Public Health Association advise parents that fecal matter and urine should NOT be disposed of in the regular trash, because it contaminates the ground water and spreads disease
Have you ever seen what happens to a diaper in a pool when completely submerged it water? It explodes! A weird gel substance oozes from the back end. Some big name diaper companies have been under scrutiny over the past few years for some terrible rashes and in some cases even welts that were experienced in children who used their diapers. 

Now that we've covered the hazards and harmful effects of disposable diapers, let's get to the fun stuff..

Does it get any cuter than this???

Cloth diapering is not what it used to be, no more pinning and poking yourself nonstop. Lots of cloth diaper companies have gotten pretty fancy with snap and velcro enclosures and All-In-One inserts that make changing your baby simple and affordable! 

Not to mention the designs! They are absolutely adorable, crunchy AND cute! There are so many to choose from. I've decided to list the companies that we have had success with. I can only speak from personal experience and offer advice on where we were able to purchase these options online for the best price.

These were awesome, easy cloth diapers that were very easy to figure out and worked best for my boys during the daytime. Their cloth insert made quick changing possible. You just put the cloth insert in the pocket diaper when you are putting it on and remove the insert when you are changing and dispose into a diaper pail liner bag.

These specially designed bags are excellent for keeping tough smells inside until you prepare to wash a load, you can place them inside a makeshift diaper pail like I did or you can hang them on back of a door (I've only seen this online and is not my personal recommendation). Fuzzinbunz also sells an awesome travel wet bag for on-the-go changing.
This is also excellent for keeping odors locked into its zipper pocket compartment. The specially designed lining inside keeps the moisture and odor in, while staying dry on the outside. The nifty loop makes it ideal for latching onto strollers or diaper bags in case you didn't want to stuff a stinky diaper inside. You can take it to the next level like I did and even use the Fuzzibunz cloth wipes! These fleece wipes are so soft and smooth, they wipe up a lot more than the store bought disposables I've used in the past. Plus, your already washing cloth diapers just toss the wipe on in when your done!

I was fortunate enough to purchase a six pack of Fuzzibunz diapers online at Baby Steals for about $45, which helped to really give me a good base for my stash.

It's also great if you can find an online store that is local to cut down on shipping costs. If not, you can find a website with low shipping costs like the All Natural Baby Center or Kelly's Closet.

These  are wonderful highly absorbent one size fits all cloth diapers that grow with your child. They are easy to maneuver and even come with a weight limit for each setting to make it even simpler. Another pocket insert which allows for multiple inserts (doubling or tripling) making it perfect for over night wear. As my boys grew older and needed more nightly support I was able to use a Knickernappies organic hemp double insert that fit inside the Bumgenius pocket diaper. This assured me dried bottoms each morning!

Bumgenius also provides Flip diapers for a more on-the-go option. This insert diaper allows you to only change the insert  and keep the diaper shell on for quick access.
Perfect for park days or a stroll through the mall. The stay dry shell was great for preventing leaks, a much thinner insert with great absorbency.

Most of my Bumgenius products were purchased online at Cotton Babies. They have great sales where you can buy five diapers and get one for free. This is a great way to also add to your cloth diaper stash. Seeing as how babies need to be changed 8-10 times a day, its best to have at least 20 or so diapers on hand so your not washing daily.

Ahh yes, the part that scares most people away from using cloth diapers... POOP!

Folks, there's nothing to fear here. With all of the updated cloth diapers on the market today, you simply empty the diaper over the toilet, remove the insert and put into your lined diaper pail. If you have enough diapers in your rotation you can wash every other day. When I needed to wash I would simply remove the lid on the diaper pail, grab the diaper bag and empty straight into my washing machine for a cold soak. There was a secret to my soak, I would add about a third of a cup of Bio`kleen Bac Out.
This all natural stain fighter contains live enzymes ensuring bright whites as well as a fresh scent. Once I felt they had soaked long enough (usually overnight), I would start a hot wash with my cloth diaper safe detergent, also by Bio`kleen.

This laundry detergent is cloth diaper safe (not all detergents are), I found that this worked best for me and I was able to purchase it locally in a pinch if I needed to. Most cloth diaper detergents like Rockin' Green are only available online which can be inconvenient. I've seen Charlie Banana detergent on sale at Walmart before but haven't had any experience with it.
I would also include a hefty scoop of Bio`kleen's Oxygen Bleach Plus for good measure.
I found that this was helpful when dealing with tough stains and any strong odors as the boys grew. Plus it made me feel better knowing there was some bleach action going on, even if it was all natural.

I would end with a cold rinse before drying the inserts, or a few hot rinses if I was stripping the diapers.

Stripping is the process of repeatedly rinsing the inserts in hot water. This is usually done when you first receive the diapers before your first use, or if you feel they have lost some of their absorbency due to build up. Some folks use dish detergent and bleach in their stripping, I always went the old fashioned route with vinegar and hot water.

Just like detergent, not all diaper creams are cloth diaper friendly. There are quite a few on the market, we've only tested three and had great success with all three:

All are available for purchase online at any of the sites mentioned above. 

If you are considering cloth diapering your baby and still are unsure of which brands to trust, there is a great trial program offered at Jillian's Drawers. This site is a great starting place if you are new to cloth diapering looking for information, and great if you are finished with cloth and looking for outlets to pass on some of your experience. 

Also, if you're very interested in cloth diapering your baby but just can't seem to find the time or energy to wash at home, you can consider a company like Mother Earth diaper service. Pick-ups and Drop-offs with ease, no muss no fuss!

At the end of the day cloth diapering is much like anything else, a personal experience. There is no one size fits all for every family. I hope that my experience can help anyone considering taking this rewarding journey. 

What's your cloth diapering experience been like?  I'd love to hear about it!

Essentially Yours,



  1. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.

  2. This is such an amazing site! I really enjoyed reading the content. Thanks!

    Ethnic Wear For Boys