So, after nearly a week of cloth diapering, I have decided I absolutely LOVE it. I haven't even quite figured out why. Everyone wrinkles their nose when I mention it: "Why would you do that??" "Ew!" "Better you than me." Seriously, what's the big deal? You don't like poop? Well I hate to break it to you, but babies poop. A lot. My son has pooped more in the last week than he had the entire previous month. Perhaps it was his litmus test to see if I could really handle it. I am not afraid of a little poop. Bring it on. It turns out that there is actually something called a "diaper sprayer", which I am highly considering. It is a sort of pressure washer for your diapers. Apparently you attach it to the plumbing behind the toilet, and you spray the poop off into the toilet. They also make "bio liners" which are thin sheets of some kind of biodegradable material. Think of it like aluminum foil lining your baking pan so that clean-up is a breeze. Same concept. I ordered some of these liners and will let you know how they work for me in a follow-up post.
Other reasons people are turned off by the idea of cloth diapering? Laundry, I suppose. Based on my research, it is much easier/more effective to launder your diapers with the "old fashioned" washing machines - top loaders. You can fill them up with water and let the diapers soak indefinitely. However, I have found a wash routine with my high efficiency machines that is working for me so far. I understand that the diapers may develop a smell after awhile, so we will see about that. While I did not purchase the washer/dryer set with the steam option, my washer has a "baby" setting which washes in extra hot water. My dryer has an option button for antibacterial, which I guess makes it extra hot. I haven't used this yet because I'm not sure if the PUL can withstand the high temperatures. (PUL is polyurethane laminate, a waterproof material used on the outer layer of the diapers to prevent leaking and such.) I know I could use it on the microfiber inserts and the cotton prefolds, but since my stash is still fairly small I am washing everything together. One other thing I found interesting is that certain items need to be washed and dried several times before first use in order to maximize absorbency. Therefore, I have yet to try the hemp/organic cotton fitted diapers I recently purchased. They are extremely thick and didn't even dry all the way with the rest of the diapers. I'm going to wash them a few more times just to be thorough.
The elements I love about cloth diapering:
- Saving money. Cloth diapering can save you upward of $2,000 on one baby. More if the same diapers are used for subsequent babies.
- Environmental conservation. This one is pretty obvious. Disposable diapers overflow landfills and are not biodegradable.
- Safe for baby. Disposables are filled with tons of chemicals that are harmful to baby's sensitive skin. Toxic, actually. Cloth diapers are excellent for babies who are prone to rashes.
- Poop containment. You know those up-the-back poop blowouts all babies seem to get? Cloth diapers are gusseted pretty much everywhere. There is a tight fit along the back, which I NEVER got with my Swaddlers, no matter how tight I pulled the tabs. So far, even with all the poop being presented, no blowouts and no leaks.
- Adorable. So stinking cute (pardon the pun). My son is extra super cute with his little fluffy butt. The diapers and/or covers come in all sorts of colors and prints.