January 5, 2015

FIAO 2.4 - Diapering the Twins - Adventures in Cloth

We've been using cloth diapers for almost five months now and it's been quite the adventure. I've built a great stash by experimenting with all different kinds and have a great system going for washing and storing. In terms of usage it was spotty in the beginning with the girls not fitting even newborns until they were a few weeks old. As I wrote before, we received a lot of disposable newborn and size 1 diapers and I'm not gonna lie we used those pretty much all the time in the beginning. It is unreal how often two tiny humans need to be changed. They were going upwards of 15 times a day each for a few weeks. Then when you consider how many diapers were peed on before they were even fastened on the bum we were burning through 35+ diapers a day! My newborn stash was pretty small and although every one was used at least once I did not get into the swing of using cloth daily until the girls were about 2 months old and around 8 lbs. This is when I broke out my stash of prefolds and covers.

When I knew it was time I basically forced myself to do it by hiding all the disposables under the crib and laying some prefolds in a big pile on the changing table to guilt myself into choosing them. It wasn't that I didn't want to, I was just afraid of what would happen. What if they leaked? What if I can't fold it fast enough and they just pee on it? And of course, once they're dirty they will have to be washed... was I ready for that?

I will never forget what happened next. After 10 minutes of trying I finally got the perfect basic fold, snappis in place and covers on in just the right position. They looked adorable! We even started with the cutest prints (Thirsties Duo Wraps size 1). I put them both on their playmat and ran to get my camera to take a picture and then I heard it. The rumbling. The knees bent and then the loudest toot I had heard. And then the smell. Oh yeah, that's my girls (actually, it's every baby) taking the most epic poo ever, mere minutes after I put their cutest little cloth diapers on. And so it began.

The good news is I got a chance to test out my brand new wetbag and my wash routine with just one day of cloth diapering under my belt (give or take a few random ones from the first few days). It took some experimenting but I've finally perfected my wash routine and as crazy as it sounds I look forward to doing diaper laundry. I'll post more info about that soon but I want to talk about how it's going now.
Look at my "rainbow"!!! Plus my stellar small nursery organization!

The Ever Growing Stash - 

First off, my stash has transformed quite a bit. Aside from about 10 newborn size AIOs, I started out with 2 snappis, 30 prefolds/flats and 10 covers - the old school/cheapest way. I never used the flats or flour sack towels I had, just haven't mastered the fold well enough. The prefolds worked really well at first but my two issues were husband and family reluctance to use them and they were SUPER bulky on my girls until very recently. Don't be scared, bulk isn't actually a problem, especially if baby doesn't need to wear pants or has a nice stretchy pant wardrobe. I just didn't love the bulk and felt it was weighing them down. It's better now that they're bigger but I still go for my trimmer options first.  Over time I started buying more pockets (BumGenius 4.0) and then some AIOs (Thirsties and Blueberry Simplex). Then the girls' great grandma gave them a ton of CD-only-cash for Christmas and I went a little crazy but I've finally completed my stash. Trying to get a picture today I realized I actually made a rainbow. I am officially that mom! That was never my intention but it's freakin' adorable either way. It will never look like this again as this is every diaper I own, many of which are just not in rotation anymore.

It's been a lot of trial and error and I have learned a ton about modern cloth diapering over these last few months. First off, even though they're trim and by far the easiest I just don't love AIOs. I do love my Blueberry Simplex prints and my Thirsties are actually pretty great but I don't completely trust them yet as I've had one or two leaks with the blueberrys and they take a long time to dry. It turns out the style I originally thought I thought I wouldn't like, pockets, ended up being my favorite and my go to almost all the time! I was afraid that stuffing would be time consuming, especially with twins, but really I don't mind it at all and I love that I can customize absorbancy. They can wear a pocket stuffed with a microfiber insert wrapped in a bamboo prefold (or something) and not leak or be wet all night. Washing isn't bad as you just remove the insert, rinse if necessary (although I'm not there yet as we are EBF) and let the covers hang dry while the inserts only take half an hour in the dryer.  I think they are the cheapest way to the cutest and most functional fluff you can find. I've seen adorable pockets ranging in price from $5 to $30 (sometimes more, see below).

The Cloth Diaper Counter Culture - 

I've also learned that there are a few types of cloth diapering mamas. I, like always, have dabbled in each of these:

The Cult of the HTF - 

stalkers of limited edition releases, buy/sell/trade sites, and usually Cotton Babies for limited edition prints and diapers. Their paypal accounts are always at the ready for the newest release and they always have a few less desirable diapers ready to sell or trade for more funds. Some have been seen paying a hundred dollars or more for one single, albeit cute, diaper (looking at you BumGenius Jules going for $125 on ebay!). I will admit that I have a "unicorn" that is HTF (hard to find and often the one diaper you really want). It's the BumGenius Martin - just because my girls are Leos and it's beautiful. I am currently pissed off at a shop called Green Earth Baby Works as I ordered two of these diapers 3.5 weeks ago and they still haven't shipped. Even though they have my money. It's making me crazy that I may not get them after all but I'll just keep my eyes out for one like a true member of the mob (look up the cotton babies flash diaper mob if you don't know what I'm referring to. be warned, they're tough).

The Collectors - 

These moms seem to have one of every single diaper (specifically prints) and others have every color and print of certain brands, like BumGenius as well as seemingly endless paypal funds and/or really rich husbands. I have seen stashes as large as 200 diapers for one child. They are usually organized by color creating a beautiful rainbow of poop catchers but can sometimes be stacked dozens high in any way. Collectors sometimes fall into the HTF cult as well but some are just aiming to gather every single diaper that they can. I always wonder how they even ever get all those diapers on to baby! I guess I can say that I am officially a collector as I have an entire rainbow of colors and adorable prints but I also think I'm good to go for quite a while and won't be purchasing any more... until I come across something really cute and I have to have it.

The Money Savers -

If you fall into either of the previous categories cloth diapering might not save you much money in the long run. Thankfully those among us looking to get more bang for our buck have options. These families know the cheapest way to use cloth is how I started by using prefolds/flats/flour sack towels and a cover (which can be anywhere from $5 to $20) and they stick to it. It's not always the cutest and it can be more difficult but you can get a full stash for $200 max, sometimes less than $100 if you buy used.

The I Don't Care As Long As My Baby's Bum Is Covered -

This is ultimately what I think most people fall into and where I have found myself. Yes, I have my favorites and yes I do have a lot but it's a mix of all kinds and I will use just about any of them at any time. Many of mine were bought second hand from buy/sell/trade sites and craigslist or they were purchased with money given to us specifically for that purpose. Otherwise we would be bare bones with just a few covers and used prefolds. And while we haven't yet gotten to the point of needing to use an old t-shirt and safety pins, I will do that if I have to.

In Conclusion-

We really are saving SO much money. When considering our out of pocket start up cost (around $200), and the fact that we use disposables at night sometimes, we have still saved well over $300, if not more. You can do the math like this awesome twin Dad did or just take my word for it. Our water bill and electric bills have not gone up and I am spending maybe $10 more a month on Tide detergent and borax. My investment will never be a total loss as I will sell or re-use everything. I'm selling some prefolds and covers tomorrow in fact, getting back half of what I put in since I bought used. We are also helping the environment by not contributing to the problem of what can only be describe as a massive amount of crap going into the landfills every day. Oh and the best thing - I actually really enjoy it! My girls look adorable even without pants on and now I can review all the colors of the rainbow with them while I stuff pockets!

My advice is this:

  • Only trial and error can tell you which diapers are right for you so I'm glad I started small and worked my way up to what I have. You can't know what will fit or work until baby is here no matter what you read.
  • But - Enjoy the research process. Have fun with it! As you learn about a diaper (read reviews, find blogs like this one) pick one from a website or find it locally and buy it if you have the budget for it. Try to get one of each kind in either newborn or one-size (although remember these will be harder to fit on babies less than 8 lbs).
  • Don't freak out about anything until you know what your dealing with. They're expensive but in the end they're just cloth you paid for. Much like your clothes. Learning how to treat them helps with the not freaking out.
  • So - You have to perfect your wash routine and you (hopefully) won't have issues. If you have issues with stain, stink, delamination, elastics, whatever, visit the Fluff Love University and follow their advice. I have had issues and I don't know yet if they're all completely resolved forever but will hopefully let you know soon.
Having followed the CD journeys of almost every momblogger out there I know these are the basics of what we've all learned. I hope I still feel this way in a year!

What is your favorite type of cloth diaper? Any tips for someone just starting out?


No comments :