Cloth Diapering- 2 weeks in

So we made the switch to cloth diapers and grew to really prefer it for a number of reasons. However, we are back to disposables for the time being. I’ll tell you why…

First, I got my order of pocket diapers and inserts. We had a leak with the first one which I attribute to user error as I tried to figure out where to snap for them to fit Desmond well. After that we had no leaks with those diapers, day or night.

I did a lot of research on washing and detergents to find what would be best for us and the most cost effective. I landed on Charlie’s Soap, which we have now switched to for all our laundry. It’s super cheap per load and rinses out clean with no residue. It’s a bit of work at first because while you are ridding your clothes and washing machine of detergent build-up you have to “wash your washer” before each cloth diaper load. There is some bad PR about Charlie’s Soap, some claim it has given their children blisters. BUT if you follow their directions this shouldn’t be an issue. The blistering is actually caused from not washing your washer for the first few weeks and having old detergent build-up gather on the diapers. We have had zero problems with Charlie’s Soap.

Then I wanted more diapers, but for cheaper. I loathe paying shipping but the cheapest diapers online seem to have the heftiest shipping rates. I grabbed a small stash of second hand diapers in a variety of brands. I was glad to try out different ones to see if we liked any better. I stripped and washed and rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed. We have soft water, very soft water, so a lot of rinsing is necessary around here. I bought the diapers through a facebook swap and sale group locally, the seller was super friendly and gave me a good deal, but she turned out to be a bit strange when Ben stopped to make the purchase. I won’t go into the details, but I won’t be going that route again. She also was either lying about sizes, or just didn’t know what she was talking about. A couple of the diapers were too big so we had some leaks. Trial and error I guess, no biggie.

Then, last week our washing machine died. In the middle of a cloth diaper rinse. Ew, ew, ew. I tried and tried to force the washer to drain the icky water but couldn’t. So I pulled all the diapers out and threw them in an empty storage tote. Then attempted several times to wash them in the bath tub, and in the tote. They seemed to come clean but I noticed there was some build up in the tabs of the diapers. I was thoroughly grossed out. I had hoped that perhaps this was something that was coming out in the wash but I just couldn’t do by hand.

I looked all over online for help and found very little. I did run across a few forums where they discussed what they coined “poo lint”. I was even more grossed out. I grabbed a clean diaper for Desmond’s room and found that it too had the lint in it still! (I’ll spare you the photos) Even with tweezers and turning the diaper inside out, I couldn’t get it all. BLEGH! I don’t understand why the tabs aren’t just sewn off so that any build up can be rinsed easily by turning the diaper inside out. Seems like common sense to me.

I cringe at the thought of not making this discovery had our washing machine not broken down (thanks to my cousin it is up and running again- an errant wash cloth had gotten into the pump). I think a diaper sprayer will get rid of the majority of this problem as it would eliminate all solid waste from going in the wash, but I still plan on returning these diapers (I am within my 30 days) and informing the company of what I find to be a design flaw.

I will order elsewhere, or order the same ones again (as the price is right!) and just sew off the tabs myself to remedy the issue. I’d much rather start over with a clean lot then try to tear apart and reassemble the ones that shouldn’t have had this problem in the first place (end rant).

Still, with all that mess, I do prefer cloth diapering and we plan to continue our efforts until Desmond is ready to potty train.

What we like about cloth diapering:

  • saving money-our main reason for switching after nearly 4 years of disposables. 
  • Des seems more comfortable in them
  • less stink (for real, I have to do a visual check to see if Des needs changed)
  • cuter….WAY cuter.
  • customizable absorbency- we do 1 insert during the day and for naps, 2 for overnight. no leaks and no rash. We were buying 2 types of disposables because Des is a heavy night time wetter. He STILL had leaks in the disposable overnight diapers.
  • disposable liners. Desmond is pretty “regular” so since we don’t yet have a diaper sprayer I just throw a flushable liner in his diaper and can toss the majority of his poo in the toilet. 
  • better fit all around, we used one size diapers so they are custom fit easily with snaps
  • Des can’t get his diaper off. The snaps are so heavy duty he can’t take them off himself. 
  • easier clean up- even a messy diaper cleans up easier off Desmond’s skin in cloth. 
What we don’t love about cloth diapering:
  • having to answer to those who are skeptical (dear everyone, I make my choices, you make yours. Let’s not judge each other…ok? ok. )
  • the start up costs, they seem high but turn out to be worth it over the long term. 
  • accessories. It seems as though to make cloth diapering as “easy” as using disposables there are a lot of accessories, which can drive up the cost (and the research, and the frustration…) i.e. diaper sprayers, cloth wipes, cloth safe ointment or cream, spray bottles for wipes, wet bags, laundry soap, etc. 
  • not having a diaper sprayer (yet). 
  • having a small stash- while I don’t mind doing laundry that often it’s finding ourselves short all of a sudden and needing to do an emergency load of laundry or supplement with disposables (which we had on hand anyway). 
So for us, the pros surely outweigh the cons. Not just in number, but in value. 
I’d be happy to answer any cloth diapering questions for a newbie. I’m NO expert but I’ve done a fair amount of research and I, myself really value the newbie perspective as it’s harder to find than the expert advise. 
More to come, when we get our new stash and start cloth diapering again!

  1. Jenny

    April 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Wow! what an adventure- glad that you do like it better over all. Looking forward to hearing more.

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