Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Insider's Guide to Cloth Diapering

That title makes this post seem so much more exciting than it really is.

My friend Kelly is thinking about switching to cloth diapering. She began research and, as happened with us, became quickly overwhelmed. There is just so much out there about cloth diapering that most beginners would struggle with where to start. Knowing that we cloth diaper, she decided to ask me about it. I wouldn't say we are experts, but we have established a pretty decent method through luck, trial, error, and a little help from our friends.

When composing an email to answer some of her questions today, I began thinking maybe I could write a few blog posts about our method and share some of what we have learned about cloth diapering. Plus, I know we have several friends and bloggy contacts that cloth diaper so hopefully they might contribute through comments or blog postings.

So for the first post, I thought I'd share a little info on the different types and let you in on what we chose.

All-in-Ones (AIOs): These are exactly what their name suggests. They are an entire diaper formed similar to disposables only washable. They have an absorbent cotton inside and a wet barrier exterior. You just put them on baby and go. Simple. The downside is that they are also the most expensive option.

Pocket Diapers: Similar to all-in-ones because they have a waterproof exterior and a soft, absorbent interior. The difference is that most of their absorbent material is inserted into a pocket. This is useful because it makes cleaning and drying these diapers easier than AIOs plus their absorbency can be customized. This is also a more expensive option.

Fitted Diapers: This option requires two separate parts: the fitted diaper for absorbing and the wrap as an exterior barrier. Basically, you put the fitted diaper on the baby and then put the wrap on.

Prefolds or Chinese Prefolds: These are almost the most basic you can buy. They are rectangular in shape and consist of layers upon layers of cotton or hemp. The more layers, the better the absorbency. With these, you want to look for diaper service quality (DSQ). DSQ prefolds are super thick and super absorbent. They require a wrap for the exterior layer. This is the economy option (i.e. pretty cheap).

Flat: These are the diapers of yesteryear. They are one or two layers of cotton and require special folding to use. Surprisingly, they are not the cheapest option but it is the one that requires the most work. Like prefolds and fitteds, they require a separate wrap.

Now that you know a little about the types, let me share our method. We use Chinese prefolds (DSQ) with g-diaper wraps. This method is something we just stumbled upon. We had been interested in trying g-diapers (a flushable disposable) and were gifted a starter pack. As I got to looking at the lil' g pants (wraps) and inserts, I noticed how similar in shape the flushables were to the shape of a prefold that has been folded into thirds. Trying it out, I discovered that they indeed fit very well. Plus, once stuffed, they functioned with a similar ease as disposables or AIOs.

Step 1- Lay the diaper flat.

Step 2- Fold one third of diaper along the seam so that outside edge is touching opposite seam.

Step 3- Fold other long side along seam so diaper is folded into thirds.

Step 4- Fold down "flap" for maximum male absorbency.

Step 5- Stuff into waterproof g-diaper insert which is snapped into the fabric wrap.

This method has been fantastic. Linus had none of the blow-outs that breastfed newborns are known for while wearing cloth diapers. (We had plenty when he wore disposables while visiting family.) The waterproof insert really seems to seal off the leg gussets. If anything does make it past the insert, the wrap will catch it thus requiring laundering only of the wrap, and not whatever else he happened to be wearing.

There are many other wraps out there. We went with this one because frankly I had them and was getting tired of trying to figure it all out. Luckily, it works great.

If you're interested in learning more, I recommend Comfy Bummy. They have video demonstrations and a fantastic FAQ. Plus, you might also check out Fuzzi Bunz for information on cloth diapering with pocket diapers.

I'll write up another installment on waste removal tomorrow.

1 comment:

Lesha said...

Oh my goodness, that is brilliant that you are using a g diaper to hold the cloth! We actually use g diapers and compost the inserts. I hadn't even thought of using them for cloth diapers.