Enjoying cloth diapering

I wrote this post for my personal journal in March of 2006, back when Eliyahu was a newborn. :)

Have you ever heard of someone praying that they would enjoy cloth diapers? Well, I did, 2 days ago.

"Wait a minute," I know you're thinking, "isn't this the girl who raved about using cloth diapers just a year or so ago?!"

Well, let me tell you about why I prayed... and how Yahweh answered :)

To begin at the beginning... you might remember that I used cloth diapers with Yehoshua from about 1 month of age until he started solids at about 1 year of age. I really wanted to succeed at cloth diapering, and stuck it out through the initial adjustment, enjoying the "old-fashioned" task of changing and laundering all that nice soft cotton, relishing the thought of all the money I was saving while at it :). I've always enjoyed hanging laundry out on the clothesline, and since that's one of the best things for cloth diapers, I had a blast! Our neighbors (first an elderly couple and then a lady) just loved seeing diapers flapping in the breeze across their lawns!

When Yehoshua started solids, I eventually gave up on cloth diapering because of the consistency of the poo, staining, lack of sunny days to hang laundry out, training him to sleep through the night, finding out I was pregnant again, etc. etc. (you get the idea). I always said I couldn't wait to use cloth on the next baby, and that I would delay solids and use cloth for at least a year again (hopefully, if it worked out best for the baby).

So, along came Eliyahu, and I had a few packages of disposables for those first few weeks... just while we all got adjusted to having a new baby.

From the time he was just a couple days old, Eliyahu had diaper rash. It took me the longest time (well, maybe only 3 weeks, but it felt like forever!) to figure out what was causing it. Since I'm the type of person who likes variety, I had opened a couple different kinds of diapers, and would just use whatever kind I felt like using at each change. Silly, huh? Well, anyway, finally I figured out that Luv's diapers were causing this rash. I wasn't too shocked, since those ones were scented. I started using some Huggies diapers I had and within less than a day, it was noticeably better.

However, I ran out of the Huggies, and we bought two kinds of generic, unscented diapers. The diaper rash came back, and I tried everything I knew to get rid of it... letting his bottom air out between changes, patting gently dry with a soft cloth between changes, using ointment, etc. and the rash only got worse! :| I was so frustrated and didn't know if he just had a really sensitive bottom, if I was eating something irritating to him, or what!

Joshua said he would take care of laundering the cloth diapers (since our washer was in the basement and I wasn't able to lift things yet), and so in desperation, I tried cloth. The rash still didn't look better in the 12 hours or so that I used cloth. I didn't want to use ointment with my cloth diapers (since rash ointment doesn't wash out very easily). Finally, I thought, "Maybe Huggies diapers will work." In desperation, I got a package of Huggies diapers. I had two nearly-full packages of other diapers and a gift package of Luv's (a huge one, but I couldn't return it because it was purchased on clearance) here at home, and all I could think of was how we couldn't afford Huggies and waste all those others -- but I didn't know what to do.

Thankfully, the Huggies (and lots of ointment and prayer :D) cleared up his bottom, and in just a few days' time, there was no diaper rash! So, we figured out that he must have been sensitive to something in those other three kinds!

I was so relieved to have found something that would work, as the rash had gotten really bad and even bled a little :(. I kept purchasing Huggies, but even with my few coupons, they were SO expensive.

In the back of my mind, I knew I should try cloth diapers again now that the rash was gone. I kept putting it off. Things were going so well, Eliyahu was such an "easy" baby compared to Yehoshua, and I liked my comfortably life of using disposables. Yes, I knew I had loved cloth in the past, but maybe I had been wrong. Cloth diapers couldn't be as fun or as nice as I had made them out to be. Besides, I didn't even have "nice" diaper covers, etc...

But thankfully, Joshua prompted me, "When are you going to switch to cloth?" Knowing that it was costing him/us a LOT of money to buy diapers, and that we had very useable cloth supplies sitting here at home, I said, "Tomorrow."

Inwardly, I groaned. I had been putting it off, and now I knew I just had to do it. We couldn't afford to buy diapers.

That night, I got out my cloth diaper supplies, again. (I had gotten them out before, but put everything back away.) I had a Snappi from my friend Lucy to try, this time, and my new homemade fleece liners to try... were they really as nice as Lucy and another friend, Ruth, claimed? ;) I even had 2 nice covers from Lucy (which I don't think quite fit yet, but I'll be using them as soon as they do ;D).

The next morning, I put Eliyahu in cloth. I kept praying that Yahweh would give me a desire to do this, because I was still dreading the exile of my easy comfortable life! Within the first couple diaper changes, Yahweh had answered. I was enjoying --no, LOVING!-- cloth diapers again! They weren't much extra work at all! Eliyahu's bottom felt so clean and dry and smooth as I pinned (or snappied ;D) a fresh diaper on him. They didn't leak. The diaper rash didn't come back!!! And no more costly trips to Wal-mart to buy Huggies. Best of all, I was obeying my husband and Yahweh was giving me joy. Yay!

The ironic part of all this is that when I wanted to use cloth diapers with Yehoshua, Joshua thought it was a lot of work and probably not worth it, but I convinced him that I liked the extra work and it was better for the baby. Now, he likes me to use cloth and says how expensive diapers are and how disposables make so much trash to take out, and how much better it is to use cloth diapers! :)

Hanging diapers with my boys... summer of 2006

Comments

I love cloth diapers, and I don't even have much in the way of fancy ones. 99% prefolds and ProRaps. :)

It seems like a lot of people who end up trying cloth diapers like them a lot! :)

I'm sure I would enjoy "fancy" diapers, but it's just not a priority with me, since my diapers were all gifts before Yehoshua was born (I just accepted and used whatever people gave!). And now with making the receiving-blanket pre-folds... when I can get a good (homemade) pre-fold diaper for about 10 cents, I don't even think about spending multiple dollars on a single diaper! :)

I never got that either! I did pay a friend recently to make me some nice fitteds, but even paying her for the materials and her time came out to much, much less than what fitted diapers typically go for. I'd LOVE to have all those amazing types of diapers and fancy gadgets, but there's no way I'm paying $20 for a piece of fancy fabric that my kid poops on!

It's really dirt cheap. I have been doing it for my little babies that aren't potty trained. I have a 2 yr old and a 3mo old, and I sew one size pocket diapers that fit both. I have pre-folds that I use also, as they are the best to fit on a newborn, and still work great for my 2 yr old with the solid poo, but I don't enjoy them as much for my breastfed 3 mo. old. When he poos he really poos, and it always leaks out the leg and gets all over the cover, and it's such a mess just getting it off that I have to take him to the sink EVERYTIME he poos! The fitted pocket diapers I have sewn always hold in all the poo which is WONDERFUL! I have some that I use a snappi with, and others that I bought a Kamsnaps plier set for and added snaps. You can find dozens of free patterns online for snaps or without, and I so far have made all mine out of stuff I already had (with exception of snaps diapers for convenience for others) like t-shirts that were going to the thrift store, old flannel Pjs, old fleece throw blankets, old towels (for inserts), and fabric that family members donated to me. The only thing you really need to purchase is thread, and 3/8in elastic for the leg. I have tried several, but I think the quickest and simplest of the free diaper patterns is Rita’s rump pocket, and I found a wonderful tutorial that gave me the confidence to try this in the first place. Here is the link to the tutorial.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfrVjViMbP4&list=FLg7E3EhDxnSFRU0z46xHZ4w&index=22&feature=plpp_video
Here is the link to the free Rita rump pocket pattern, classic version, made with flannel, but I have made TONS of variations to this diaper to make it snappi-able because pins scare me and snappis do not work well on flannel. It always turns out wonderful; I do recommend doing a double stich along the pocket to keep away the stray threads as you wash these so harshly.
http://handmadebyrita.blogspot.com/2007/10/classic-rrp-ritas-rump-pocket-pattern.html
Hope this helps someone. It sure helped me!

Aww, I remember when you posted that picture before and I was still pregnant with Jacinta...it made me so excited to spend a summer hanging out nappies with my TWO babies, just like you.;-D And I've indeed spent many wonderful mornings (and afternoons, and evenings!) hanging out laundry with my two.

~Ruth A.

This is great encouragement for me as I think more and more about cloth diapering our little ones (when we have them :-)).

Hi Tammy!

Your post was so timely - as a new SAHM (yay!), I am looking at making the switch to cloth diapers. My husband would have never allowed it before, since he was home with Mikaylah, but now that I'll be home full-time and I don't mind laundry, I am really excited to look into this option for our family. As a former employee of the Kimberly-Clark company (aka: maker of Huggies ;) ) I know first-hand how expensive diapers are!! (No, they do not give us free diapers - so sad! And their prices are going UP!!)
Thanks for your honesty ;) And I may write you in the future to ask what to do about stains!! (Since Mikaylah is nearly the age your little one was when you gave up CD - is it harder as they get older?)

Ruth, I'll bet your two love "hanging out laundry" (i.e. going outside, lol!) as much as mine do. :) I'm excited about using the mei tai again, too!! :)

Brandy, I think you'd do just fine with cloth diapers! :) Especially with babies who haven't started solids yet... it's SO easy (it ALL goes right in the washing machine)! :)

Vicky, I can't remember if I commented on your blog, but I'm so excited that you get to be a stay-at-home mom! :) I know you have wanted that for some time, and I'm very happy for you. :)

About cloth diapering an older baby... well, it doesn't exactly get "harder", just different. In my experience, my newborns needed changed more often than older babies, so that part is actually more work for a younger child. But as they get older, and start eating solids, you need to at least shake off whatever you can get into the toilet before washing. I actually rinse the poopy diapers out in the toilet, which is really the only unpleasant part of cloth diapering an older baby -- but, by then, you're probably only changing 2-3 messy diapers each day, and not 8-10+ like from a newborn! :)

A cold-water pre-rinse/soak helps with stains. Since I rinse the poopy diapers in the toilet (after the baby has started solids, not when they're 100% breastfed) right after changing, I don't really have any stains...  hanging diapers out in the sun helps (it magically removes breastmilk poo stains!) and if the stains really bother you, you can try things like adding washing soda to the wash water... but I only have a few lightly stained diapers, and it doesn't bother me, so I don't do anything special at all. :)

I have 2 boys in diapers and recently switched to cloth this past March. I have loved every minute of it! I admit I take the easy route and use mostly pocket diapers and even have a diaper sprayer hooked to my toilet to spray off solids. But it is so easy and I certainly never got this excited about using Pampers.
-Robin

I certainly never got this excited about using Pampers.

LOL! :)

I used huggies then I switched over to cloth. I made several and have been getting by but need more. I had a friend make two covers for me and I am going to make these.

http://www.jordanpaperarts.com/tana/diapers/RRP/Ritas-Rump-Pocket-Pattern.htm

I already cut out the fabric. I know it is not as cheap as prefolds but I was a little scared of them when I first started. I now know I could do them and might buy some to go with my covers. I did all the figuring (I am a number cruncher hehe) and even though I am putting a little into the diapers I am still saving (including price of electric and water in my area) $2000. I figure that is pretty good savings;) I can't say I LOVE them but part of that is I don't have as many as I would like. I like that you turned to God when you started struggling in this area. I sometimes forget, I am sad to admit, that I need to go to God even for my cloth diaper situation. I was recently reminded of this at a woman's retreat. I have been struggling with tiredness, something I assumed I would just deal with for this short time in my life. I was reminded that I should go to God with everything, even when I assume it is just part of life. He loves us more than we love our children. He wants us to come to Him with EVERY need. Thanks for the reminder. I can NEVER be reminded too many times to look to Him. Thanks for this post!
Shorty

I switched over from Huggies also. I did some figuring, including electric and water for my area, and am saving $2000 by using cloth. I do make some fancy ones because when I first started I was too nervous to use prefolds. I now can use prefolds and will once I get the covers a friend of mine is making. I do spend a little on diapers but am still saving so much! I am making these to go in the covers I am getting. I have not used them before but think I will like them.

http://www.jordanpaperarts.com/tana/diapers/RRP/Ritas-Rump-Pocket-Pattern.htm

Thank you for reminding me to go to God for EVERYTHING. I have been so tired lately and know it is just a short time of my life so I have been bearing that burden alone. I assumed it was just part of life. I was reminded that God wants us to come to Him for everything, everything! He loves us more than we love our own children. I can not be reminded often enough how He loves us and wants us to come to Him for all our needs, wants, burdens and struggles. I am not in love with cloth diapers, just too cheap to pay for the Huggies. I have never thought of asking for a love. I know many many women who LOVE cloth. Thank you again for the lovely reminder of God's love.
Shorty

I too have gone through stages of diaper hatred. Almost with the birth of everybaby. Im coming back around though. We are down to paper dipes only at nights but for four children. :) But hey that's better then 100 a week! :)

Shorty, thanks so much for sharing!

That pattern (and fabrics they show!) is so cute!! :) If I had a sewing machine and were more skilled at sewing I would probably make more homemade diapers. :)

By the way, I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with spending money for nice cloth diapers... like you said, you're still saving a lot of money compared to disposables! :)

I love cloth diapers too. People must think I have a strange hobby :-)

Now to my other hobby--What is the carrier in your picture? Is it a wrap or a mei tai or something else?

Jennifer

Tammy,

Do you always hang your diapers outside? The reason I am asking is because I will be cloth diapering with our little one (due 2/1/07) but don't think hanging laundry will be feasible in a Pennsylvania February. This means that I will either be hanging inside or putting everything in the dryer. I just wonder if I will have more staining when I can't let the sun bleach everything out.

Molly

During the Labour Day weekend my in-laws came up to visit and they brought not one, but TWO cases of Pampers in size three. I have not cloth diapered once since then. I'm just now getting to the end of one case and decided that I'm going to get back on the cloth diapering bandwagon. I'm feeling extreme guilt over this whole thing? Can you imagine? Over diapers...lol. We moms sure know how to give our own selves a hard time, lol.

Anyhow thanks for the post. It was just the push I needed to get back into cloth.

Blessings to you!

I remember doing the cloth diaper thing. We, too, had problems with Luvs, Pampers, etc. All except Huggies. I went to cloth because my husband went through unemployment followed by serious under-employment. I bought 24 basic diapers (the kind you have to fold yourself), and I had twins. I did laundry every day! The Lord was good to us, and our dryer went out shortly after so I had to line dry them. We lived in snowy northern Utah at the time so hanging them outside wasn't happening! I rigged a line in our basement instead. Later, I realized using the dryer cost about $70 a month ($70 we didn't have). I loved not smelling the "chemical" smell of disposables. I don't remember stains. Maybe that was an advantage to having to wash them so quickly after use! :-)

I have to admit, I was grateful to go back to disposables when my husband's income picked up. Having enough cloth diapers for more than 2 days would have been marvelous and may have changed the whole picture for me though.

I can't imagine cloth diapering twins with only 24 diapers!! :) Yes, I imagine that if you had more diapers it would have been easier. :) Wow... $70 a month for the dryer! I don't use the dryer very often, so I never "feel" the savings (since it was never part of our budget to start with, I guess!) but hearing the figures from other people who have stopped using theirs makes me thankful for my clothesline, for sure! :)

Jennifer, the carrier in the picture is a mei tai. I blogged about it when I first got it last year -- read this post. :) It's so comfortable, and I used it a lot with Eliyahu! :)

Molly, I don't always hang out my diapers. We live in NW Ohio, so our winters get too cold to hang laundry outside. I take advantage of any nice winter days (if it's sunny, I'll hang clothes out as long as the day's high temp is predicted to be above 40 degrees... if it's overcast, I hang clothes out if the high for the day is 50 degrees or more... just my general guideline). But when it's too cold to hang diapers out, I usually put them in the dryer.

They do sometimes get stained in the winter (Eliyahu was born in January, so I was using cloth on him in the winter right away) but I've found that stains from babies who are exclusively breastfed (I've never used formula so I don't know how that would affect staining) will bleach out in the sun even if they've been there for a couple months, and have been through the dryer. So, while it does annoy me to have yellow stains on some diapers, it is nice to know that when the next really sunny day comes around, they'll fade. :)

I love hanging cloth diapers outside, it is something I'm going to miss once it gets to cold out. Since our newest baby was born almost 2 weeks ago, I have been using disposables and I'm missing the cloth! So I'll be using the cloth once again very soon!! This time, I'll have two in cloth, something new for me! I have made up a number of my own fitted diapers, plus I was given terry nappies and have also found good cloth diapers in my second-hand shopping. :) I didn't realize I would enjoy cloth diapering. :)

~Tanya

Oh, it sounds like you'll have fun, Tanya!! :) I have "new" diapers to use on our next baby, so that is exciting to me, too! :)

I have been to lots of garage sales and rummage sales and thrift stores... and the only cloth diapering stuff I've ever come across has been a pair or two of Gerber vinyl pants (like what Wal-mart sells!). I have no idea where the nearest place around here is to buy "real" (i.e. good quality) cloth diapering supplies, so I'm guessing there must not be much in circulation where I live. ;)

For what it's worth, I didn't mind having two in cloth diapers. It was nice in a way, because I washed every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and the diapers never sat more than 48 hours before I had a full load to wash! :)

Hello. I have decided to cloth diaper my kids to save money and thought I would check on your site to see if you talked about it and...ya!!! you did.
I have never done it and dont know where to start. I will have a new baby in about 2 months and I have a 13 month old and my 3 1/2 wears a diaper at night. Do they all wear the same size and what and how much do I need?
I just cant imagine paying for 2 babies in diapers!
Thank you so much!
A little nervous about diapers...
Trish

Hi, Trish! :)

Cloth diapering is something that everyone does just a little differently... and there's tons of information online about it! :)

Here are a couple other posts about cloth diapering that you might find useful. (The search feature isn't working on my site right now, so I'll link them here for you!)

Basic questions and answers for getting started with cloth diapers 

My cloth diapering method

Frequency of washing cloth diapers

Making your own prefolded diapers from receiving blankets

I started cloth simply because I was curious. I didn't have any problems with disposables, which is actually a shock to me since we all have fairly sensitive skin. I was on a message board one day and there were these women talking about cloth diapers!

Huh, I had never thought of trying them before, and, well, curiosity got the best of me! My husband told me to get one, and I found a used all in one for sale for a good price, and so bought it. When it came in the mail, I was almost giddy. I put it on my oldest (who was two at the time) and of course, he immediately wet the diaper. Still, I was pretty much hooked. I began buying used cloth and using it on my two little guys and was just so happy with them. I enjoyed using cloth far more than disposables!

My youngest child was born almost two years ago and besides the day in the hospital, he has been in cloth since the beginning. Some people think that I'm a little off, like my mother, but I am so happy that I decided to try it so long ago. The money that we have saved has come in very handy many times since I am no longer working with two preschoolers and a toddler at home. The environmental impact that disposables have also make me very thankful that I am not contributing bags of dirty diapers to the dump each week. Although my two older boys are using the potty during the day, all three need something at night, so if they were in disposables, it would still be a lot. I loved reading your story!

I just wanted to say that I use cloth diapers (prefolds w/Snappis and wrap covers). One of the reasons I didn't cloth diaper with my first was the whole scraping/rinsing-in-toilet business. Then I discovered Diaperaps flushable liners. Those things are a lifesaver. I probably wouldn't CD without them. They're not very expensive - a roll of 100 is $5 and change if you buy them in bulk (5+ rolls). They are septic safe and chlorine free. I just wanted to put that out there. The liners sure do make my life a whole lot easier (and more pleasant!). As soon as Baby starts on solids, I start using the liners. (I'm not a Diaperaps affiliate or anything, just love the product!)

i use the Kushies diaper liners for my kids and they are truely a lifesaver and much easier to deal with .. My husband doesn't even mind changing cloth anymore since I've started using them with the cloth and ofcourse finding ones that are like the Fuzzibunzs at a yard sale helped too .. a garbage bag for $10 it was chocked full of diapers,liners,and pants.

Cryssie

You really don't need to buy these liners if you don't want to deal with swishing/scrapping etc. I have a 2 year old and a breastfed 3 month old. For the two year old, the poo comes off really easy, just dump it in the toilet; I never put the diaper in the toilet water. I then put the dirty diaper right into my pail to be washed. If there are tiny bits of poo they will come out in the wash, you just don’t want huge clumps in there. With the 3 month old, I just throw the whole thing in the pail because breastfed baby poo comes out really easy in the prewash. So far only once when my 2 yr old was sick did I ever have to do anything extra to get the poo off. It wouldn’t dump out, but was too solid to be washed out in the washer. I didn't want to use a kitchen utensil to scrape it off, and I certainly wasn't dunking in the toilet either to have a drippy poo mess on my floor, so I took the whole thing out to the backyard and hosed the whole mess right off, then I hosed the poo till it was no longer visible in the grass. It didn't take long, and I didn't have to touch the poo. $5 doesn’t seem like much for 100 liners, but when you change diapers for 2 kids every day, 20+ changes per day that cost adds up quickly, and I haven’t found it necessary.

Tammy, what kind of detergent do you use?

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