Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The 411 on our diapering system

So I get a lot of funny looks when people find out we're using cloth diapers. I thought I would go ahead and take this opportunity to educate the masses on just how easy it is. Presenting: my cloth diaper tutorial. Featuring Snuggle Bear, Aunt Carolyn's afghan, a prefold cloth diaper, a Thirsties brand cover, and a Snappi.

First, I'll show you the tools:

This is a prefold diaper. It's the kind that your grandma (and my mom) used, and many mom's still use today as burp cloths.

This is a cover. This particular cover is Thirsties brand. Note the Velcro. Velcro is your friend:

This is a Thirsties cover open. Notice that the inside is shiny? It's Polyurethane Laminate, which is a highly breathable, yet water proof material. This means that after a wet diaper, I can simply wipe out the inside of the cover and lay it out to dry for the next diaper change. I have three different covers, but I didn't want this to last forever so I just used the one.

This is a Snappi. Snappi's have taken the place of pins.

This is the back of a Snappi. See the teeth? You'll understand how it works better in a bit.

Now to the fun part. Grab your prefold diaper and fold it in thirds. (Note, this fold is for boys. If you were diapering a girl, you would turn it sideways and then fold it in to thirds so that there is more fabric in the middle. With a boy I want more fabric up front.)

Fold the front up so it fits and pull the tops out a bit:

Lay down your baby. (I thought about using Connor for this, but first, he wiggles a lot. And second I'd have to go back and edit the pictures to retain his privacy, and that's a lot of work.)

Pull the front up and attach the Snappi. To attach a Snappi, you just hook it on to one side of the diaper, hold it tight, attach it to the other side, and then stretch it down toward the bottom. Now you have a diapered baby. You could really stop here, but since there is no waterproof layer, things get a bit messy as soon as the baby wets.

So, you add in the cover. This part is just like a disposable.

The only trick is you have to make sure all of the cloth is inside the cover. If any cloth is peeking through, the moisture will "wick" up through the cloth and get on your baby's clothes.

Ta-da! See how easy cloth is! If you are breastfeeding, all you have to do is throw the diaper in the diaper pail and wash every 2-3 days, depending on how many diapers you have. If you are using formula or if the baby is eating solids, then you need to get the poop off of the diaper before you wash it. (Breast milk poop is water soluble, so it washes away just like anything else. Formula poop will just smear and make a huge mess in the washer. Not cool)

To get the poop off of the diaper, you have two basic options. You can swish it in the toilet until the solids come off, or you can buy a diaper sprayer. A diaper sprayer is just like a sprayer that you have on your kitchen sink, but it's designed to attach to your toilet. I don't have one yet, but it's totally on my Christmas list.

Once your diapers are poop free, you just throw it in the wash with no more than half of the normal amount of detergent you usually use. You'll want to be picky about your detergent though. Some detergents are bad for diapers because they clog the fibers of the material and make them less absorbent. Click here for a list of safe detergents. You want to do a cold rinse (for stain removal), a hot wash, and an extra rinse to make sure all of the detergent is rinsed away. Fabric softeners are also bad for the absorbency of the cloth, so you'll want to skip those. Since I don't have hot water hooked up to my washing machine, I add a few drops of Tea Tree Oil as an antiseptic to make sure no ickies are lingering around, waiting to give my baby a rash.

Another stain fighting technique is the sun. If you hang your diapers to dry in the sun you are almost guaranteed to stay stain free. The only down side is that the sun can make the diapers less than silky smooth, so I always toss them in the dryer for 10 minutes to soften them up. Dryer sheets are also bad for diapers, so you'll want to skip those as well.

For more reasons to cloth diaper, click here or here or even here.

And just because I can't make a post without a Connor picture in it, here he is, very angry, after a bath in a Prowrap brand cover. He really does love the bath, he just hates to get out and get dressed.

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