Saturday, January 24, 2009

Naturally Frugal Baby or my current addiction to cloth diapers

Hi, my name is Rebekah and I'm addicted ... to diapers! Let me explain, I'll start at the beginning:

As our family has grown with the addition of Molly, we've looked to more natural, more frugal ways of taking care of baby. When Maddy was born, almost 5 years ago!, we were, like most parents, completely blindsided by baby! Throw in severe pre eclampsia, that took the better part of 3 months to recover from, and we pretty much did whatever anyone told us .. the hospital said supplement with formula? Okay. Here .. these pretty Pampers have Elmo on them and don't they smell pretty? They sure do, sign me up for 3 years worth. After the fog of blood pressure meds lifted (magically, as soon as I quit taking them I had no BP issues, hmm) I would spend my days trying to figure out what was really in the best interest of our darling girl, we dropped the formula to almost never but the Pampers were still in the picture (and budget).

18 months (and 10 days) later Mallory was born after a very, very surprising and short pregnancy. We didn't realize we were pregnant until 19 weeks, that the mini-pill is a very persnickety pill and when they say take it at the same time every day, you must! .. I like to think that our Mallory just wanted to join us so badly she couldn't be dissuaded by something like birth control... We continued to grow in our desires to live more naturally. Formula was completely out but the Pampers were still in .. I never knew the ease of modern cloth diapers .... I plead ignorant.

Then last winter we discover M#3 is on its way and it only seemed natual to use cloth diapers since we've "converted" so much of the rest of our lives to a less wasteful, more frugal way of living. I spent a good portion of my pregnancy looking into cloth diapers .. even though I remember the origami diaper folds and Gerber plastic pants and the toilet dunking and the stinky yellow pail and the bleach and the ick that my mom, and by default, I used with my sisters. Even though there's only 8 years difference between my youngest sister and my oldest daughter, the leaps and bounds in cloth diapering is astounding!

So once I passed 22 weeks (I'm oddly superstitious about buying baby stuff too soon) I ordered a case of Seventh Generation disposable diapers from a great deal at Amazon, thinking I'd be off my game for awhile and wouldn't be able to handle cloth right away. I spent $75 on 4 dozen unbleached Indian prefolds and 4 ProRap covers and was ready to try the cloth. Then I started using them and I was hooked! No pins, no crazy folding, no pull on plastic pants? Awesome! And I start reading a million cloth diaper boards and blogs .. I find a deal for $12 BumGenius 2.0s .. I order 4! I remember the first doctor appointment the nurse saw the diaper and was so curious .. the pediatrician, a younger lady, took one look and exclaimed "You have these! They're awesome!" I upgraded to some Thristies covers and then find a deal on Thristies AIOs ($10 per!) Then forgetting the fact that I can't sew a straight line, I order some material and download a pattern online and whip out 16 pocket diapers in a weekend. Stuffed with some cheap microfiber auto wipes we'll be using these until high school or potty training which ever comes first! My latest find was some DryBees ordered from a BabySteals daily deal, 2 for ~$15.. I ordered 4.

What about the washing? Glad you asked! I think everyone has what works for them. We, like many cloth diapering families, use just a covered trash can for a diaper pail and toss the dirty ones in until laundry day. Molly is 5 months old and is still exclusively breastfed, so the poops aren't that icky yet. I'm sure in the future this will have to be rethought and some dumping of the, well, dumps into the toilet will have to be done .. I may get one of the sprayers that hook to the toilet, we'll see how it goes! When I'm having to use prefolds because I'm out of diapers or its been longer than the 4 days that bumgenius are supposed to be dirty, I empty the diaper bin, which has been decorated by the big sisters so they know not to put trash in it, in to the washer and use a hot rinse, hot wash with homemade laundry soap, cold rinse with vinegar. Toss in the dryer and we're ready to go again. We have tried air drying and while the weather was nice this was great .. but inside with the racks and such its a pain especially in the unheated basement with the children doing who knows what upstairs, its not worth it to me. I think the heat of the dryer helps with any lingering germies on the diapers that the sun gets but the dark dank basement does kill. We've had one round of buildup after I stopped using the homemade laundry soap, because Fels Naptha was supposed to cause buildup, and started using a free and clear detergent .. which apparently is worse at causing buildup. I soaked everything in a hot water/vinegar solution with tea tree oil which as far as I can tell has stripped all the yuckiness.

So .. there's my story on cloth diapering .. expect further chapters to come ..

1 comment:

Kate said...

Good Idea
Cloth Diapers were always used when I was a baby (back in the 60's) my mum swore by them and I remember them being for years afterwards for clothes etc. Great for the pocket, great for baby and great for the environment.